Motion detection is one of the most important features of a smart home security system. By using this feature you can get notified (alerted) when there’s activity around the premise.
Issues related to the motion detection are very common and include: motion camera is being unresponsive, motion detection not working, motion gets detected but it doesn’t record, notifications not working on the phone or the phone alerts are delayed. If that’s the case, what should you do to fix these motion detection problems?
There are two ways how CCTV security systems detect motion. The most common one is software-based (algorithm) and works by measuring changes in pixels. If these pixels change (or move), the software interprets it as motion.
The other type sets off the motion by detecting body heat and infrared energy coming from the object/subject. These are known as PIR motion sensor. which is not software-base, it’s a physical module that detects motion.
Both types can experience issues such as not detecting motion. These issues are usually related to the firmware, software, camera’s placement (not angled right) or even buggy phone apps.
How to fix motion detection not working
- Enable or reconfigure motion detection
- Set up the push notifications on the phone app
- Update the firmware
- Update the CCTV phone app
- Change cameras’ placement
1. Enable or reconfigure motion detection
If your security camera system never detected any motion, most likely the motion feature was never enabled in the first place. The motion detection settings need to be configured and activated in order for the system to detect motion alerts.
There are two things you need to do: first, you have to enable the motion detection for each camera, second, you need to set up your system to record on motion (and not continuous mode). These tweaks are done on the settings section of your camera or NVR DVR. Keep in mind, some security cameras will initiate motion detection by default while some have it disabled.
If you did these settings and the motion still doesn’t work, then adjust the sensitivity and threshold level. These include settings such as increasing the sensitivity level depending on the object size or longevity of the motion, adjusting the contrast. Another suggestion is to reset the motion detection schedule and re-do the settings from the beginning.
2. Set up the push notifications on the phone app
You may have activated the motion detection correctly but you’re still not getting any notifications on the phone and that’s because you need to set up the push notifications separately. These settings vary between manufacturers, however the idea is to link the CCTV phone app to your camera or DVR/NVR and get alerts once the motion is triggered.
Make sure you can see the cameras on the phone (live view playback). After that you can enable the push notifications on the app’s settings. Most of the CCTV apps have a single toggle on the phone where you can enable the alerts. Additionally, you need to authorize the phone to let these alerts show on your phone screen.
Once a motion event happens in your security camera system, you’ll get an alert (push notification) at the top of your phone screen. If you click you can see the activity that was recorded and simply go to the live view mode. These features vary between manufacturers, but the logic is the same across all platforms.
3. Update the firmware
As we said in the beginning of this article, the most popular motion detection is the algorithmic-based one. This software is quite complicated and tracks the motion based on the pixel difference between each consecutive frame.
If this algorithm is buggy or not properly implemented you may get scenarios where the motion is not detected at all or getting alerts a few seconds after the motion has started.
For this reason, updating your security camera firmware or the firmware of NVR/DVR to the latest version could eliminate any bugs that have been affecting the motion detection or push notification. Moreover, for security reasons it’s always recommended to keep your security devices up-to-date.
4. Update the CCTV phone app
The phone monitoring apps the communication mode between your phone and your remote security system. The DVR, NVR or camera send out an alert to the phone which then shows up as a push notification. Quite often these apps contain software bugs that may cause the alerts not to get triggered or general malfunction of your security system.
The manufacturing companies try to iron out this bug and release updates to fix the issues. Upgrading your phone up (or computer-based monitoring system) to the latest version may solve all the issues you’ve been experiencing with the motion detection/notifications. Always check if your monitoring app has a new release.
5. Change cameras’ placement
In case you’re using a security camera with a built-in PIR, you should know this type of motion detection sensor doesn’t work properly in certain situations such as placing the camera behind a window glass panel. The PIR can’t detect the heat coming from the object if there’s a glass in front of it.
If you’re using a wireless motion sensor, you need to place the camera closer to the router or WiFi spot. If the camera is far away, it may lag and not be able to transmit the alerts in time.
Additionally, if the object under surveillance is far away, it’s more difficult for the camera to detect any motion of that kind of distance. Replace the camera closer to the monitored area, or, if supported, optically zoom in and re-focus the camera.
Not getting alerts on your phone or the system not recording on motion is an infuriate problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible. If you don’t fix the issue on time, you may miss out incidents that would have been otherwise caught in camera.
To avoid such issues, apart from configuring the system properly, you need to purchase a reliable security system from a company that takes care of its product and provides timely updates and bug fixes. Research before buying a security camera system and always go for CCTV brands with good reviews and customer feedback.