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Why am I receiving motion detection alerts from my camera when there's nobody home?

Cameras with motion detection

False motion alerts from cameras that have built in motion sensors can be a puzzling and frustrating feature. Too many alerts is annoying (and a waste of time), while too few leave you wondering if the camera is working at all. This is a simple reminder that your camera isn't a motion sensor, it's a camera with motion detection capabilities. The software in your camera analyzes sequential frames of live video for differences, and registers a motion event when a big enough change is detected.  In other words, whenever there's a change within the cameras field of view, the cameras motion sensor will activate, and record a video clip. 

Here's a list of things that may cause a false motion alert. 

  • Any reflections through glass windows
  • Light switches - turning your lights on, or off
  • Large shadows - sunrise, sunset, moving cars, trees, or even bushes

PIR Motion sensors

Your iSmartAlarm PIR motion sensor : PIR-based Motion Detection: In this case motion is detected by means of a PIR sensor, a passive infrared sensor. This sensor detects emitted infrared energy from objects (humans and animals, but also cars) in the form of heat.



Cameras motion sensor vs PIR motion sensor

Each of these motion detection methods has its advantages and disadvantages.

Because PIR sensors monitor for body heat, they tend to more reliably filter out inconsequential activity, such as curtains fluttering in the breeze from a nearby fan or a change in the light streaming through a window, than CV-based cameras. In addition, the regular PIR motion sensors are more energy sufficient, since they run off batteries. However,  because PIR-based cameras spend the bulk to their time low-power mode, they can take more time to wake up and start recording than cameras.  In addition, you may miss part of the action that triggered the motion alert, such as an intruder’s approach when their face is most visible. That matters when you’re talking about forensic evidence.  The PIR motion sensors  are incapable of detecting motion through glass so they’re not suitable for scenarios such as monitoring your yard with an indoor camera aimed through a window.

What's the best option for me?

The answer depends on your overall setup, and mindset behind video recording. Some customers don't mind the false motion alerts, and would rather be safe than sorry, which others will prefer a more simple, and accurate approach to their alarm system.  

Here's two examples of how things can be played out depending on your set up. 

Example 1:  If you have an iSmartAlarm system with several contact sensors, and motion sensors, then you have a whole army to do the main work for you, which is to alert you when something as actually happening. It's highly unlikely that someone will somehow find a way into your home, and not trigger any of the regular motion sensors, or doors while they are running around grabbing whatever they can get. Let the Cube be the commander, and your sensors do the triggering. If and when an event happens, the Cube will tell your camera to turn on it's motion detection, and start recording videos whenever the burglar walks by its field of view. 


  • Less headaches from false triggers
  • Accurate video recordings
  • Pet friendly
  • Cons:


  • May leave you wondering if the cameras motion sensor is even working - Do a pretend break in once a month to see if it'll record you after you triggered the alarm, and walked by it. This may give you peace of mind. 

Example 2: If you have an iSmartAlarm system, with several sensors, but you're worried someone will manage to break in, and not trigger any of your sensors, then you'll need to set your camera up so that it turns it's motion sensor on immediately after arming the system, which is discussed in the article listed at the end of this article.


  • Can be used as a back up motion sensor ( keep in mind of the sensitivity)


  • Increases chances of receiving false alerts.
  • Increases chances of false triggers if you choose to set the camera up to trigger the alarm.
  • Unnecessary video recordings
  • Not pet friendly


Three available video recording options for your CubeOne/Camera system




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