Privacy Settings
By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy for more information.

What is a Passive Infrared (PIR) Sensor?

June 1, 2024
PIR Sensor Installation

A PIR sensor (Passive Infrared Sensor) is a type of motion sensor that detects infrared energy radiating from objects in its field of view. It is called "passive" because it doesn't emit any energy itself; rather, it senses the infrared energy emitted by objects.

PIR sensors are commonly used in security systems, lighting control systems, and other applications where motion detection is required. When an object (such as a person or an animal) enters the sensor's field of view, the sensor detects the change in infrared energy and triggers an output signal, which can be used to activate an alarm or turn on a light.

PIR sensors are popular because they are inexpensive, easy to use, and consume very little power. They are also quite reliable and can detect motion even in complete darkness, making them ideal for use in low-light environments.

How do PIR sensors detect motion?

All objects with a temperature above absolute zero emit some amount of infrared radiation, which is a form of electromagnetic radiation with a longer wavelength than visible light. PIR sensors are designed to detect changes in this infrared radiation within their field of view, which occur when an object moves through the sensor's detection area and changes the distribution of infrared energy. The sensor then generates an electrical signal that can be used to trigger an action, such as turning on a light or sounding an alarm.

How to wire a PIR Sensor?

Connecting a PIR sensor is typically a simple process, but it can vary depending on the specific sensor and its intended use. Here is a general guide for wiring a PIR sensor:

  1. Start by turning off the power to the circuit where you plan to install the PIR sensor.
  2. Determine the power supply voltage required by the PIR sensor. Most PIR sensors operate on low voltage DC power, typically between 5-12 volts.
  3. Connect the power supply wires to the appropriate terminals on the PIR sensor. Be sure to connect the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals correctly to avoid damaging the sensor.
  4. Connect the output wires of the PIR sensor to the input of the device that you want to control with the sensor. This could be a light fixture, alarm system, or other device.
  5. Some PIR sensors may have additional settings or adjustments, such as sensitivity or time delay. Consult the sensor's instructions to properly adjust these settings.
  6. Once all wiring is complete and you have checked for any errors, turn on the power to the circuit and test the PIR sensor to ensure it is functioning properly.

It's important to follow the specific wiring instructions provided with your PIR sensor and to ensure that all wiring is done correctly to prevent damage to the sensor or other devices in the circuit. If you're not comfortable working with electrical wiring, it's recommended to seek assistance from a licensed electrician.

Top 5 Alternatives to PIR Sensors

There are several alternatives to PIR sensors for detecting motion or presence in an area. Here are some of the most common alternatives:

  1. Ultrasonic sensors: These sensors emit high-frequency sound waves that bounce off objects in their detection area. By measuring the time it takes for the sound waves to bounce back, the sensor can detect motion or presence. Ultrasonic sensors can detect movement through walls and solid objects, making them useful in applications such as home automation, robotics, and security systems.
  2. Microwave sensors: These sensors emit microwave signals that bounce off objects in their detection area. By measuring the frequency and amplitude of the returned signal, the sensor can detect motion or presence. Microwave sensors can detect movement through walls and solid objects, making them useful in applications such as security systems and automatic door openers.
  3. Infrared beam sensors: These sensors use a transmitter and receiver to emit and detect infrared beams. When an object passes through the beam, it interrupts the signal, and the sensor detects the interruption. Infrared beam sensors are commonly used in door and gate automation systems, as well as security systems.
  4. Vision sensors: These sensors use cameras or other imaging technology to detect motion or presence. They can be combined with AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze images and identify specific objects or people. Vision sensors are commonly used in security systems, robotics, and manufacturing automation.
  5. Pressure sensors: These sensors detect changes in pressure or weight on a surface. They are commonly used in occupancy sensors for buildings, as well as in industrial automation and robotics.

Overall, the choice of sensor will depend on the specific application and requirements of the system, including factors such as detection range, accuracy, and cost.

Combining PIR Sensors with Video Analytics 

PIR sensors can be combined with other solutions such as AI video analytics to create more advanced and effective systems for motion detection and tracking. By combining PIR sensors with AI video analytics, it is possible to create a system that can not only detect motion but also analyzes the movement of objects within a designated area and categorizes the type of object. For example, by integrating PIR sensors with AI video analytics, the security system could detect an intruder's presence, track their movement through the building and don't report an alarm when the PIR sensor is triggered by an animal.

Further Reference:
Did you like this article?