Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 base station

I have a Gen 1 Alarm System and I just got a Gen 2 Alarm base station as part of a starter kit (it was cheaper to purchase a Gen 2 starter kit than buy the individual sensors I needed a-la-carte). Comparing the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Base stations, they both look identical, and the Sku #'s are same. I’ve ready all the articles re: Gen 1 and Gen 2 device compatibility - but my question is specific to the base station. If the base station for Gen 1 and Gen 2 systems are the same - identical features, both have full compatibility with gen 1 and 2 sensors, both have same firmware - then do I actually need to deregister / re-register the new gen 2 base station or can I keep using my Gen 1? I called support and a guy told me the Gen 1 is actually a higher quality device (better wireless card, faster processor) and I should just leave that installed. He told me how to tell the difference by looking at the serial numbers. But this just doesn’t make sense - if the Gen 1 base station is better, why did they make a Gen 2? I’ve already replaced my devices - everything seems to work well with my Gen 1 base station. Anyone have an opinion re: making the base station upgrade - since I already have it?

You are fine to stay with the first generation alarm. In the world of building consumer electronics, it is not uncommon to see newer versions of devices being built to save money on the (BOM). This sometimes happens due to component pricing and availability.

Hi neighbors. The Gen 2 Ring Alarm does have improved components with the accessories (Contact Sensor, Motion Detector, Keypad, Range Extender) compared to the Gen 1. In regards to the Base Station, the difference is cosmetic. One has a “glossy” finish and the other is more of a “matte” finish. :slightly_smiling_face:

Tom_Ring -

I’m confused. If I understand what you are saying:

  • The only difference between Alarm Base Station (1st Gen) and Alarm Base Station (2nd Gen) is the cosmetic finish (i.e., “matte” versus “glossy”).
  • Alarm Base (1st Gen) devices do NOT contain a better wireless card and faster processor than their 2nd Gen counterparts.
  • The 2nd Gen version of Alarm Accessories (including Contact Sensor, Motion Detector, Keypad, and Range Extender devices) represents IMPROVEMENTS over their 1st Gen counterparts.

If this is true, why have there seemingly been so many complaints on this website (and other websites) regarding Motion Detector (2nd Gen) devices?

  • Are the motion detection algorithms in both the 1st Gen and 2nd Gen devices the same… or were they re-written for 2nd Gen products?
  • It appears that many users were very unhappy with the motion detection capabilities of the 2nd Gen devices and believed that the 2nd Gen devices represented a DOWNGRADE from their 1st Gen counterparts.
  • Ring Support reps were supposedly telling Ring users that there was a mounting height requirement for the 2nd Gen devices (that didn’t apply to the 1st Gen devices).
  • Were the various 2nd Gen motion detection problems subsequently solved by a firmware upgrade?
  • Are the motion detection capabilities of Motion Detector (2nd Gen) devices now equal to (or better than) their 1st Gen counterparts?

Hi @Frustrated427. Yes, the difference between the Gen 1 Base Station and the Gen 2 is the cosmetic finish. From a functionality standpoint, they function the same. The Ring Alarm Accessories however, do have different components. Not only are they about 30% smaller, they take different batteries.

The Gen 2 Motion Detector is completely redesigned. It features a patented Motion Detection algorithm to help “ignore pets”. You may see “more complaints” about the Gen 2 Motion Detector due to the new algorithm and mounting procedure. There may be a learning curve to get the Motion Detector dialed in to detect motion properly. The user experience you are speaking of is most likely due to unfamiliarity with the new design. Both Motion Detectors are known to work great, with the Gen 2 having the added benefit of being more pet friendly.

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Tom_Ring -

Thanks for the clarification.

Obviously, devices which use an algorithm to “ignore pets” may be desirable to some people who own pets. They would be presumably be very undesirable, however, to people who don’t own pets – for obvious reasons.

Thank you for your feedback on this @Frustrated427.

I have both the Gen1 and Gen2 Motion Detectors on my system and can share my experience as I’ve found pros and cons to both.

I have all of my motion detectors mounted at the correct height, and in corners. I’ve also tried raising/lowering them for testing purposes as well. Before permanently installing the Gen2s, I actually did much of the below testing by setting the Gen2 on top of the Gen 1 where I had them mounted.

Gen1 Pros:
Long battery life (in almost 3 years I’ve never replaced the batteries)

Medium Sensitivity setting works perfect in my home. Doesn’t detect my 4 cats, one of which is pushing 20lbs. I tried the highest setting but my cats tripped the sensor.

The detection range is very good and will detect motion well outside of the room it’s placed in provided you have direct line-of-site.

Gen1 Cons:
After detecting motion, the sensor doesn’t go idle again for about 3 minutes (my main reason for upgrading to Gen2). If you walk past one as you’re leaving your house and trip it, it remains active for around 3 minutes so if ‘new’ motion occurs in your home, after you’ve left, it won’t be detected by the Gen1 sensor until no motion is detected for 3 minutes.

Gen1’s are fairly large, especially in comparison to the Gen2.

Non-standard battery CR123a battery, although not difficult to find.

You have to open and close the sensor to have it enter test mode, or change sensitivity. Kind of a pain. They’re supposed to update the sensitivity changes in time on their own but from experience I’ve never had that work without opening and closing the sensor.

Some people have complained about the ‘camera flash’ the sensor LED emits when motion is detected. This cannot be disabled.

Gen2 Pros:
Quite small, especially in comparison to the Gen1.

Takes a standard AA battery.

LED flashes green when motion is detected unlike the flash of the Gen1. This can also be disabled in the app so they don’t flash green.

Any changes to the sensitivity and/or testing the motion sensitivity can all be easily accomplished with the Ring app. There’s no need to open/close the sensor cover unless you’re changing batteries.

Gen2 Cons:
At any height, the motion detection just doesn’t work as well as the Gen1 sensors from my experience. In the documentation, Ring writes “If you set the second generation Motion Detector to the High Detection setting, you should have a similar experience to the first generation Motion Detector set to the Medium Sensitivity setting.” At the highest setting on the Gen2, that’s true, they work very well and function very similarly to my Gen1 sensors. However, my cats tripped my alarm with it on the highest setting. I keep my Gen2s on Medium sensitivity and they don’t pick up my cats at all. However, they’re just not as sensitive and don’t detect motion as well as my Gen1s. If I’m only crossing my room a short distance, the sensor doesn’t get me at all, and I’ve found it always detects me later than I’d expect.

It’s also worth noting Ring advises keeping both the Gen1 and 2 at only Medium if you have pets. I have both set as suggested and they don’t detect my cats, but the Gen2 doesn’t detect people as well. Again, if you set the Gen2 to High Sensitivity it will perform very similar to the Gen1 on Medium, but detect pets.

The Gen2 doesn’t have the range of the Gen1 either. It doesn’t really detect me if I’m not in the room, which is fine.

The batteries don’t seem to last as long. I’ve had to replace the batteries in one sensor and the other sensor will soon need a new set too. HOWEVER, I wouldn’t by any means say the battery life is bad, they did last over a year before needing replaced. This is only in comparison to the Gen1.

In the end, the Gen2s DO work fine, I just wish the Medium setting worked the same between both models. There are some pros and cons to both versions, but I do think I prefer the size and functionality of the Gen2 over the 1.


5150Joel -

Wow! Thanks for taking the time to document, in detail, the pros/cons of the following devices (as well as the differences between the two):

  • Ring Alarm Motion Detector (1st Gen)
  • Ring Alarm Motion Detector (2nd Gen)

I assume that many current/potential Ring customers will appreciate your effort.

I probably tend to use motion detectors differently than most people. I like to use them as portable security devices. In other words, I want to be able to:

  • Place them in any location… at any height… at any time
  • Remove them if I’m expecting visitors

Although such a strategy may seem unusual, I’ve found that it tends to work for me. If I have any workmen at my home, for example, I don’t want them to know the existence/type/location of such security devices. It also makes it much easier (and more convenient) to change batteries.

It’s interesting that you think you prefer the functionality of the 2nd Gen devices (over the 1st Gen devices) – as it sounds like the 1st Gen devices are more versatile. Do you think your answer might be different if you didn’t have any pets?

One more question. Are the 2nd Gen devices stable when placed on a flat surface?

Hey @Frustrated427

I’ve found the lower you place the gen2s, the less motion they pick up. It makes sense that Ring suggests mounting these higher (7.5ft). I’ve found the higher they are the better they work.

Your strategy makes sense. Good on you for actually making the effort to want to remove/replace the visibility of your security sensors based on who might be there. That’s more effort than I’m willing to do!

In my opinion, the Gen2 is better than 1. If I didn’t have cats and was able to keep the Gen2’s at the highest setting that would be ideal for me: They’re smaller, go idle in seconds after no motion is detected, and the High setting works wonderful on them. The Medium setting IS fine too… it’s not like they don’t work on that setting. The sensitivity difference is noticeable though compared to High.

I’ve not tried placing them on a flat surface, only flat (non-corner) mounting them on a wall. The worked better in a corner than flat on a wall. As far as a surface, these are slightly angled downward due to their design. It may not be totally obvious when looking at a pic, but there’s a slight downward angle to them that you can’t change. I would imagine though they’d work fine if placed on a flat surface like counter or something to detect on coming motion, but it’s directional as it probably wouldn’t detect anything ‘behind’ it if it were placed flat.

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5150Joel -

Thanks for sharing your insights!