Gen 2 Motion Sensor - Very poor range in detecting motion (or defective?)

Just installing new Gen 2 devices with my existing Gen 1 Alarm System.

Added a Gen 2 motion sensor to my existing Gen 1 Alarm System with no issues.

I tested motion detection on this new Gen 2 motion sensor. I put it next to a Gen 1 motion sensor.

For every movement, the Gen 1 motion sensor (on medium sensitivity) could detect motions, while the Gen 2 motion sensor (on high sensitivity) could not.

I had to come to as close as 6 feet, then the Gen 2 motion sensor was finally able to detect motion.

Is this a defective Gen 2 motion sensor unit I have, or the new Gen 2 unit just performs poorly compared to Gen 1 motion sensor?

This very short range of 6 feet on the Gen 2 motion sensor is totally not acceptable.

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Hi @Kenny326. If you’re experiencing concerns with the motion detection on your Motion Detector, I’d recommend reviewing this Help Center Article for some tips on how to position it. You may also want to contact our support team as they can help walk you through more advanced troubleshooting steps if needed. You can give our support team a call at one of the numbers available here. We’re taking additional steps to protect our team and help reduce the spread of COVID-19, so this has resulted in longer than normal wait times. If you are outside of the US, please read our response to COVID-19 here to see how to contact support.


I recently added 2 Gen 2’s to my system, and moved the Gen1’s to other rooms in my house. I might be able to offer some insight here…

I only had the Gen1’s set to Medium sensitivity. They really worked perfect, with great range, and my cats never tripped them. I only had them mounted about 6 or so feet high.

I moved those 2 elsewhere, and replaced them with the Gen2 detectors. I installed those Gen2’s in the exact location as the 1’s. At first they did NOT work well. I found you MUST mount those at the recommended height of 7 to 7.5 ft or so. Regardless of how sensitive I had them set to, they just really didn’t work all that well. Mounting them at the correct height absolutely fixed that.

Next, the sensitivity of the Gen2s: it is said the Gen2 set to High is comparable to the Gen1 set to Medium. I’ve found that to be accurate as well. When mine were on high, they’d easily detect us 20+ft away. They worked very well. I however had to set both to medium as my cat kept tripping my alarm (he’s a good 16lbs…) Now set to Medium, the Gen2s still work pretty well. I’d PREFER them to work a bit better, and more sensitive, but it’s just not possible with my cats. On Medium, they still detect us several feet out, but don’t detect us as quickly as they did when they were set to High.

The Gen2’s are truly a different animal than the 1’s and work much differently. Make sure you have those Gen2s at the needed height–it makes all the difference, trust me! If you’re already there and it’s still working that poorly, your sensor may very well be defective.

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Thank you 5150Joel. Your input was very valuable as that confirmed a few observations I experienced.

One rep had me ‘reconfigure’ the Gen 2 motion sensor - that seemed to help.

Several situations where the Gen 2 sensor wasn’t able to detect motions, my impressions so far:

  • it performed worse in a bedroom, vs in an open area in a living room

  • it performed worse when I was walking from right to left across the sensor (vs from left to right)

  • it performed worse, when the sensor was at an angle from my position (vs facing me straight)

  • it performed worse in the evening vs during the day

  • the Gen 2 sensor seemed to try to detect motion - when the motion stopped, not when motion started

Note: I did not observe any of these issues with the Gen 1 motion sensor.

On the installation height,

I was talking to Ring Advanced Support one hour ago. And the 2nd support rep also mentioned about Gen 2 sensor needing to be installed at 7.5 ft above ground as well.

Ring is the first company to require that high installation height for a motion sensor product to work properly. This is a really really odd requirement.

PIR motion sensors have been around in many applications for centuries, and there was not one PIR motion sensor product that required to be installed at 7.5 feet or above to detect motions. The main thing needed is a clear line of sight between the sensor and the moving object.

I have other PIR motion sensor products at home, installed at 4 feet, 3 feet above ground, installed along corridor, in the garage. All work perfectly fine.

Normally PIR motion sensors have very excellent accuracy to detect motions of live objects (humans/animals). But so far the Gen 2 motion sensor doesn’t seem to be living up to this performance.

A year ago, I installed the Gen 1 motion sensor, at 5 feet above ground. Sensitivity at ‘medium’ setting. It was working perfectly in detecting motions. Only one false alarm during this whole time.

With Ring’s Gen 2 motion sensor I experienced a much shorter range, and it couldn’t detect motions 50% of the time. Sometimes not at all. I have the Gen 2 motion sensor installed at 6 feet high, and the Advanced Support Rep said that was not good enough.

Something is really off. This indicates some functionality weakness that requires this peculiar installation height.

It’s day 3 of me trying to get the Gen 2 motion sensor working to detect motions. I spent 3 days of my life - first time ever, to get a PIR sensor product working properly.

Ring needs to do a better job than this. When using Ring’s Gen 1 motion sensor, I only had one false alarm in the past year using ‘medium’ sensitivity to remove false alarms. Everything worked perfectly fine. 100% detection of motions.

Perhaps Ring overdid something in trying to reduce false alarms. Now it’s not detecting motions 50% of the time on the Gen 2 motion sensor - even at the highest sensitivity setting.

Ring wants to make sure its Gen 2 motion sensor is detecting true motions effectively - at least as good as its Gen 1 ‘medium’ setting, which was working really well for me.

I’ll have a 2nd test session in the evening with Ring Advanced Support. Will see how it goes.

Can Ring revive the Gen 1 ‘medium’ setting?

We don’t have pets, so perhaps Ring needs to have a Gen 2 ‘High’ setting for households without pets.

Also, some households would still want to have the high sensivity setting in Gen 1. Ring can keep this as the ‘Super High’ sensivity in the Gen 2 motion sensor. As I’m seeing some reviews saying not able to detect motions in a larger living room (> 20 feet from wall-to-wall).

Perhaps the motion sensor settings should have 2 separate selections:

  • Super (= Gen 1 High) /High (= Gen 1 Med)/Med/Low

  • Pets: Yes/No

That’d potentially solve a LOT of the issues I’m experiencing (and others as well) now, if it allows a wider range of situations and environments to work within.

In any case,

the Gen 2 motion sensor should not be doing worse in detecting motions compared to Gen 1 motion sensor.

I installed an additional Gen 2 motion sensor and retested.

Some additional findings of what Gen 2 motion sensor could not detect properly:

Installation Height: 6 feet above ground

We installed at this height, as 7 feet is too high and very inconvenient for anyone to get to the sensor to replace the battery.

  1. if I walked across a living room at 15ft-20 ft from the sensor slowly (no movements of my hands), and stopped in the middle of the living room. Gen 2 motion sensor could not detect the motion. I needed to walk all the way to the far corner of the living room then the Gen 2 sensor could detect the motion.

It seems Gen 2 motion sensor tried to compare my body to an adjacent object as a reference - when my movement stopped. If I stopped in the middle of an open area with no adjacent object near me, the Gen 2 motion sensor would not be able to detect motion.

  1. When I walked straight toward or away from a Gen 2 motion sensor when I was at least 10 feet away from the sensor, it could not detect the movement. I went thru’ this test with one of the Ring Support over the phone.


One Gen 2 motion sensor was consistently underperforming compared to the other Gen 2 motion sensor.

Gen 1 motion sensor was set right next to the Gen 2 motion sensors. The Gen 1 motion sensor did not have any of these shortcomings in all the tests, and was able to detect all motions successfully. Setting at ‘medium’ sensitivity.

We don’t have a pet at our place.

At this moment, I’d only recommend Gen 1 motion sensor if anyone wants to protect a crucial area.

Ring still does not offer a glass break sensor now, so the motion sensor becomes very crucial to detect motions to trigger the alarm if an intruder enters thru’ an open/broken window, etc. If the motion sensor fails to detect motion, then the Ring alarm system fails to detect intrusion into the home.

I have had similar experience with Gen 1 Motion Detection being GREAT; Gen 2 Being UNSATISFACTORY. My Gen 2 won’t detect motion coming towards it, i.e., a car coming down my driveway towards the house; it will belatedly pickup a car driving away, i.e., up my driveway leaving the house. Gen 1 is sharp as a tack both ways. I’ve spent days trying every possible Gen 2 Mode; no advanced; advanced Zone 1…moved it around; added Zone 2; added Zone 3; Max Sensitivity. Nothing will get the Motion Sensor to pickup motion coming towards it. It only picks up people when they are directly in front of the camera. How do we get a Defective Gen 2 Replaced? I threw away the box or I would return it. Don’t buy a Gen 2. I LOVE my Gen 1.