How can I improve motion detection at night?

I’ve recently realized that one of my 3 cameras just isn’t detecting motion after dark. It works during the day. I’ve fiddled with all the settings; if I turn sensitivity up higher, during the day I get detection on every leaf blowing in the wind. I can use live view, and see the area in the dark, but motion detection is very spotty. Sometimes I can stand a few feet in front of the camera and wave my arms, and get nothing.

This camera is the oldest of the 3, a first generation stick-up. I think it used to work better, but I’m not sure.

Do the newer cameras work better in the dark? Could I add an IR light, or do something else to improve detection?

In general, motion sensitivity is compromised at night. This is because the camera is relying on the PIR sensor (infrared for heat detection). I have found that if you can increase ambient lighting such that the camera does not have to rely on the PIR, not only is the camera much faster to trigger motion detection and therefore recording, but also the video quality is much better too. Another tip is that the camera is always more sensitive to motion moving ACROSS the camera rather than towards it so try to position the camera to capture motion in that manner.

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I’d really rather not have a light on all night. Seems like everyone is doing that these days and I find it annoying.

I haven’t paid attention to the Ring cameras for a long time and don’t really know much about them.
Does this camera have a built-in IR light? If it does, surely it can’t be on all the time, because it would drain the batteries. Could I add some sort of supplemental IR that is always on?

Hi Jim. I understand. I feel the same way about lights - in light of energy conservation, DarkSky project and more. Good for you.

Yes I believe all the outdoor oriented cameras have passive IR (PIR) sensors that they rely on at night. It uses heat sensing to trigger a motion even and therefore recording. I’m not sure on all the details but here is an article by Ring that might help. Perhaps someone else here can chime in on some other recommendations.

Maybe the newer cameras have sensors that respond better in IR, making dedicated IR illumination unnecessary. Unfortunately Ring’s documentation, even that page you linked to, is a bit vague on the real capabilities of their different products.

If I could get better detection from a newer camera, that would be the simplest solution for me.

@Marley_Ring … Marley, do you think the newer cameras will address Jim’s concerns?

I could add IR illumination if that would help.

But I’d really just like to know if a newer camera would be better.

Hi @JimHughes. This is interesting. Since 1 of the 3 cams is behaving this way, it leads me to believe the camera may not be operating as it should. I suggest reaching out to our support team to investigate this.

Please 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.

@JimHughes if you have ProtectPlus, perhaps just go ahead and request warranty replacement. Keep us posted.