How does night vision motion detection work?

Maybe I am not understanding how night vision motion detection works. I have a Stick Up Cam Elite (wired, POE), that works great during daylight hours. The one motion zone I created does exactly what it is supposed to do. I have found night time motion detection is not triggering for vehicles (myself) pulling into our driveway at night.

I have the camera mounted high up on the front face of my garage facing the driveway and the alley it abuts to. I get home from work at night, and so far in the past week I have only been able to get the motion activation/recording to trigger if I drive very S L O W L Y into my own driveway. Otherwise if I pull into the driveway and garage at regular speed, even though I am driving directly under the camera, it doesn’t trigger or record anything.

Oddly, there have been a couple of motion events from animals at night that worked just fine. One was a raccoon, and the other was a black cat, both of which walked into and through the driveway area, and triggered the camera without any issues.

This leads me to believe the camera has issues detecting movement of inanimate objects like vehicles, but does just fine with living creatures like people and animals. Is this because live animals/people give off more heat and make it easier for the camera to recognize quicker?

I already went through a support telephone call with Ring and everything is set correctly in terms of motion zones, sensitivity, alerts, installed “outdoors”, etc. I have 2 lights on either side of the overhead garage door that stay on all night and provide a decent amount of light for the area covered by the camera.

I tried using both the color and black and white version of night recording with the same results. I am trying to decide if the camera is defective and I should exchange it, or is that just how night vision on these cameras work?

Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

Hi: Here is my understanding. At night, if there is no light, the camera uses the PIR (passive infrared sensor) which detects motion via heat. If there is enough light, the PIR sensor is not used (as in day) and the camera itself is sensing motion. If there is enough light during the night, the camera is sensing motion (or once a spotlight or floodlight is triggered). So, it is not using the PIR sensor and camera sensor at the same time. It is one or the other depending on light level. As far as triggering motion, I believe both sensor will trigger faster when there is motion across the sensor as opposed to coming directly at it. This is why cars going the road at the edge of the motion zone can be detected but people walking straight up to the camera are not, or delayed. Hope this helps.


Thank you very much, I think that explains it. The link was also very helpful. The camera is definitely in night/PIR mode, as I can see the dim red LED’s inside the camera housing lit up at night.

Based on your explanation, it sounds like the camera is working correctly within its design limits. I did notice more success with an additional zone during overnight hours that would detect vehicles traversing the motion zone in the alleyway, instead of just waiting for something to come directly at it. If specific zones were able to be activated on a time schedule, that would solve the issue for me for sure.

Thanks again for the info!


Glad it helped. Yes, it does seem like things are working correctly. These are good cameras, but not commercial ones either so there are tradeoffs. Still, I think Ring could add a LOT more features with simple firmware updates that would make them a lot more powerful.

I find users here, through a collective effort, is a more effective approach to solving problems than calling support. I have certainly learned a lot here through the generosity of other users.

Other potentially helpful general info: (1) sometimes it can help to split a zone into two zones that adjoin or even overlap a bit. (2) Ring also added a privacy zone option so you can apparently specify an area within a general area, that should be ignored.