CCTV systems are highly customizable and can be configured to fit the specific needs of any user. One optional component that can be added is the PIR sensor which stands for Passive Infrared sensor. PIR sensors are motion sensors commonly used in home security systems but can also be added to some of our security camera systems. Using this additional sensor, you can configure your camera system's DVR recorder to do a number of different things based on what you specify.

The PIR sensor is an electronic sensor that is triggered by measuring infrared light that radiates from objects that fall within its field of view. Passive is part of its name for a reason and that is because the sensor doesn't use energy for active detection.  It is only triggered if energy is being given off by an object. If you choose to use a PIR sensor it is also very important to understand that it isn’t triggered by temperature changes (i.e. heat) but instead, the energy given off by heat (infrared wavelengths). Any object that is above absolute zero (lowest temperature possible) will emit this “heat energy.”

It’s no secret that many security cameras already have motion sensors built-in. The major advantage of using an additional PIR sensor is that they are much more sensitive when it comes to detecting changes in the environment. They also have a greater range of detection. If you decide that you want to use a PIR, your next task will be installing it and configuring it within your DVR.


 Basic PIR Sensor

Once you have chosen a PIR sensor, the next step is to select the proper cabling depending how and where you’re going to be installing your PIR sensor. Some factors to consider are how far the PIR sensor will be from the DVR and how far it will be from a power source. For the purposes of our visual demonstration we will be using a power “pigtail” cable and a small length of CAT5 data cable (not pictured). The data cable that is in the picture is an 18AWG twisted pair cable. This is the cable we recommend if you will be installing your PIR sensor far away from your DVR. It is a thicker gauge wire and sturdier overall.


Power Cable and Data Cable

After you have selected your hardware; it’s time to get everything connected. Start by opening your PIR sensor to expose the inner circuitry. It will generally look like the one that is pictured below. You will then need to locate the area to install the power and data cables. Once you have done this, you need to loosen the screws in the mounting area using a phillips or flathead screwdriver (this will depend on your particular model). Next, insert the the power and data cables into the appropriate locations on the PIR sensor. Complete the connection by screwing the cables down and making sure they are secure. Finally, determine how high or low you will be mounting your PIR sensor and adjust the height setting of the PIR sensor accordingly. First, you need to loosen the height adjustment screw and slide the circuit board up or down. Use the height adjustment notch on the left and the feet guide on the circuit board to select the appropriate height for your install. This particular unit can be mounted anywhere from 6 feet to 12 feet high. Once again, this process will vary depending on which PIR sensor you have selected.


Open PIR Sensor

Once you have completed all your connections; the PIR sensor will look like this (pictured below). For the power cable, make sure the red portion is connected to the positive (+) terminal, and the black portion is connected to the negative (-) terminal.


Open PIR Sensor with Complete Wiring

Now that you have a completely wired PIR sensor; it needs to be connected to the DVR. Locate the accessory block (usually green in color) on the rear of the DVR.  Start by unscrewing the screws above the ‘1’ slot and ‘ground’ slot. You can see what a ground symbol looks like by clicking here. The order of the wire for the accessory block needs to match the order of the wire inside the PIR sensor. In this, case we have the striped wire on the left in the sensor so it needs to be on the left in the accessory block. Please refer to the image below. Once this is complete, the sensor needs to be connected to 12V power adapter or wired into a power box depending on your particular setup.


Rear View of DVR with PIR Sensor Data Cable Connected


To complete set-up and begin using your PIR sensor, you need to finally configure the PIR settings inside the DVR. This done by navigating the on-screen menu and adjusting the functions of the PIR sensor to your specific needs. To get to the PIR Settings screen, follow the list of steps below.


1) Right-click on the main screen and scroll down to Main Menu

2) Enter your username and password

3) Click on Settings

4) Click on Detect


After you have followed all these steps you will be presented with the screen that is pictured below. On the Detect screen you can toggle several settings involving your PIR sensor. For example, you can set the channel of the PIR sensor. In this case it is set to channel 1 because it is plugged into the 1 slot on the accessory block of the DVR. You can also toggle whether the PIR sensor will cause a buzzer to go off or send out an email notification if motion is detected. It can also be set to do a  mix-and-match combination of these things. It all depends on your specific needs and how you want to set it up.


How to record a Security Camera System using Alarm Inputs

 After you have connected the alarm sensor to the back of the recorder, the next series of steps involves setting up a recording schedule on the security system to record when an Alarm is triggered. You can configure one of our DVRs or NVRs with alarm inputs to record based on alarm activated recording only, or combine it with continuous video recording and video based motion detection as well when using our security camera recorders.

The video below explains how to setup alarm based recording on one of DVR or NVR recorders.


Don Stephens is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading Security Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. His area of expertise is in designing professional security camera systems for medium and large scale businesses, schools, and government projects.

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