ADT motion detector adjustment – How to adjust your motion detector

This article is on how to adjust your ADT motion detector. This article will also apply to adjusting other motion detectors as well. If you have a motion detector in your house you may have received a call from ADT at some point saying, “Sir, we have an alarm event in your house.”  Annoyed most of the time I know it was my dog that set it off.  How is it that even though they sell the motion detector as being pet friendly that it is not?  Then you go to all the trouble to call ADT and you ask them if they can come out and service your motion detector, they will say something like “Well sir, that’s a house call and those are $85 per hour minimum charge”. Do I just have money to give to ADT?

Well, given all of these things I decided to learn how to adjust the motion detector myself so that my pet would not set it off. This is done through following these steps below. You don’t have to follow them exactly, just the general steps.

Manual motion sensor adjustments and tips

1. Get a step ladder or a chair so that you can get up to eye level with your motion detector to get a closer look at it. You are looking for a small adjustment screw on the motion detector that adjusts its sensitivity.

2.  You can turn the screw one of two ways. Most of them will usually have a plus and a minus sign indicating which way to make the motion sensor more sensitive or less sensitive.

3. Tell ADT you will be testing your alarm. Since ADT will get calls if your alarm goes off, you want to avoid that confusion.

4. Adjust the motion sensor towards the minus sign to be less sensitive and then set your alarm. Now, try walking through the area to see if the alarm goes off. You always want it to go off if a person is trying to go through your house when they should not be. If this works ok, then try to get your pet to go into the path of the motion detector beam.

5. Another important note is take notice of how you have your motion detector pointed. Where will it’s path of motion generally be?  Some motion detectors you can point down toward the ground a bit more.  If they are pointed towards the ground, then they will pick up your pet’s motion. If the pet sets off the motion detector, then readjust and try it again until you get it right.

6. Another option is to take a small piece of masking tape and put it over the lower part of the motion detector unit. This is to cut off part of the beam.  Imagine that the beam is coming out of the system in a large swath from floor to ceiling. What the pet immue motion detectors do is cut off the lower part of the beam so that it is just tracking movement up high. This will work as long as your pets don’t still jump up and get in front of the beam.  Cats are known to do this.

Testing your ADT motion sensor without setting the alarm

I’ll make one final note here. If you don’t want to have your alarm go off all the time when you are trying to test your motion sensor, then just check if your ADT motion sensor has a small red light on the front of it. If it does, you will notice that light turns on when it detects motion. Once the light comes on you know that your alarm system would have detected motion and notified the alarm control panel. So, make your adjustments to the motion sensor and then have your pet go in front of it. That brings me to my next point.

Testing your ADT motion sensor with pets

If you want to test your motion sensor with pets, then I recommend not setting the alarm. Just check to see if the light is going off when the animal goes in front of the sensor. This is good to do with 2 people. Have one person stand on the one side of the room with some treats and then you stand where you can see the light on the motion sensor. Have the treat out for the dog and then see if the dog sets off the motion detector by watching the light on the motion sensor.

Placement of motion sensors

Ideally a motion sensor should be somewhere where burglars are likely to trip the motion sensor. This should be near a stairwell if you have a two story house. That way, you will get them coming down the stairs or on their way up the stairs. If you have a 1 story house, then consider putting the motion sensor in a transition area. Somewhere where there is a hallway leading to some bedrooms or something like that. When the motion sensor is tripped and you have the alarm in away mode, the alarm is going off instantly. When you have the alarm in stay mode, then the motion detector is not set. There are some options on the ADT panels to have your motion sensor active when you are at home. We had a situation like this before when we lived in a large house that was essentially three stories. The owners would set the motion alarm at night on the bottom floor. This made them feel safer but sometimes led to more false alarms. You have to pick what you feel comfortable with.