Documentation / Miscellaneous / The HC-SR501 PIR sensor

The HC-SR501 PIR sensor

type HC-SR501

The HC-SR501 is a device that connects to a BrainBuilder digital input.

Passive infrared have a very wide field of view and ‘see’ infrared. In the right-most picture the ‘image sensor’ is shown. In normal use the image sensor is behind the white plastic ‘lens’. They are very good at detecting movement by objects and life forms that are warmer than their surroundings.

infrared picture of a hand

If something changes in their view, the output signal is set to ‘high’.


Finding the right settings for the potentiometers may require some experimentation to get them exactly right for your application.

PIR sensor settings


The sensitivity can be adjusted from 3 meters (potentiometer fully clockwise) to 7 meters (fully counter-clockwise)

Time delay

The time delay can be adjusted from 5 minutes (potentiometer fully clockwise) to 3 seconds (fully counter-clockwise)

Trigger mode

Single-trigger mode (‘L’): after motion has been detected, output is set high for the duration of one time delay period only. Repeatable trigger mode (‘R’): in addition, motion detected during the time delay period starts the time delay again.