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Security cameras that don’t detect intruders are basically useless. In this article, we’ll look at quick solutions for when your Blink Camera is not detecting motion events.
1. Don’t Place Your Camera Behind Glass
Most Blink cameras use passive infrared (PIR) sensors for motion detection. These sensors register movement based on changes in heat signatures in their field of vision.
Infrared is excellent in outdoor settings. Unlike other motion detectors, they rarely have false positives from lighting changes or the natural movement of tree branches.
However, glass blocks infrared light, so PIR sensors often miss motion if a window is in the way. Blink cameras need a clear, glass-free line of sight to their target zone.
Blink Mini is the one exception to this rule. It uses Pixel Difference Analysis to detect motion, which works through glass as long as reflections don’t interfere and the target area is well-lit. To minimize those issues, just place the Mini as close as possible to the glass it’s intended to see through.
On a similar note, both types of sensors operate best when objects enter their field of vision from the side rather than head-on. Try to consider the likely angle of approach when setting up your camera.
Your Blink security system must be armed for the motion detectors to activate, record, or send alerts.
You can arm the system in the Blink mobile app. If you’ve already created a login and added your camera, you’ll see the Disarmed/Armed toggle right on the main app screen.
When the system is on, “Armed” will be in blue. If it’s not, just click it.
3. Turn on Motion Detection
Arming your system doesn’t necessarily activate motion detection. Your cameras’ motion sensors should be on by default, but they may have gotten toggled off at some point.
There are two ways to activate a Blink camera’s motion detection feature. The first option is on the home screen, where there’s a running man icon at the top right of each camera’s widget. The icon will be blue if motion detection is on for that camera; otherwise, click it.
The second option is on the camera’s settings page. You can get to this page by clicking the icon with three horizontal sliders right by the running man icon for the camera.
Once you’re in the Camera Settings menu, the Enable Motion Detection toggle will be one of the first options you see. Toggle it to the on position.
4. Adjust The Retrigger Time
Our next fix won’t help if your camera never triggers. But sometimes, Blink cameras fail to capture important motion events because they happen too close to other motion events.
This is controlled by the retrigger time. This delay period is intended to prevent your camera from sending you multiple alerts for the same event.
You can find this setting on the Blink Camera Settings page, near where we enabled motion detection. Just adjust the slider to your preferred retrigger time.
The retrigger time defaults to 30 seconds. That’s fine for most settings, but I’d suggest trying a shorter retrigger time if you can. You can set it as low as 10 seconds, and I’ve found that 20 seconds is often a good balance between missed events and excessive notifications.
5. Change Your Activity Zones
Your Blink camera can ignore motion in select sections of the camera’s view. This feature, called Activity Zones, is a great way to avoid getting notifications every time a car drives by or when a particularly active tree starts rustling.
But your camera might miss an opening door or an intruder if you don’t have enough zones activated. You can change your Activity Zones from the Camera Settings screen. Click the grid icon, and it will open a new screen.
You can click each rectangle on the Activity Zone screen to enable or disable its activity zone. The greyed-out rectangles are disabled, and the normally colored ones are enabled. I suggest leaving as many zones active as possible, especially if your camera has been failing to detect motion.
6. Configure Your Camera’s Sensitivity
You can adjust the sensitivity of your Blink camera if it is triggering too often or not often enough. Increasing the sensitivity should cause your camera to pick up some of the motion events that it has been missing.
You’ll find the sensitivity slider on the Camera Settings page, right below the retrigger time.
The default value is five. I wouldn’t suggest going up to ten right away. Instead, try six or maybe seven. Any higher than that, you’ll pick up a lot of false alarms throughout the day.
7. Turn on Motion Recording
This one comes from a mistake I made early on with my camera. I kept receiving Blink notifications, but nothing was showing in the app. It turned out that I had motion recording deactivated for my camera!
Worse still, if you deactivate motion recording and notifications, your camera’s motion detection is absolutely useless. It may as well not be on.
I can’t think of a good reason to turn off motion recording, so I suggest just leaving it turned on for all of your Blink cameras. You can find this setting on the Camera Settings page, at the bottom of the Motion Detection menu.
8. Change Your Night Vision Settings
All Blink cameras have a night vision mode that uses IR LEDs to illuminate their target zone. This mode can be turned on or off or set to automatically toggle depending on the presence of external light.
Usually, I recommend using the auto mode for night vision. However, there’s a known bug that causes some Blink cameras to stay on IR for too long. If you’ve ever seen a spy movie where the character activates night vision goggles in a well-lit room, you know what this means: blinding light.
This IR bug can cause some Blink cameras to fail to detect motion that happens soon after dawn. The only solution I’ve seen for this involves using a smart home routine (via Alexa, Home Assistant, etc.) to force the IR mode to turn off.
Fortunately, this issue seems to be fairly rare. You can safely ignore it unless your camera is specifically missing motion events that happen soon after an external light source is introduced.
You can change the Night Vision settings on the Camera Settings page. For most users, you’ll want to set them to the default values of Auto control and Medium IR Intensity.
Now that we’ve verified all of the settings on your camera, let’s look at possible hardware issues. Low batteries are the most common of these problems and the easiest one to fix.
Not all Blink Cameras use batteries (the Blink Mini, for example). However, most Blink models have two AA batteries in a compartment on the back of the camera.
- Remove your camera from its mount on the wall.
- Take off the back compartment cover.
- Replace the batteries. In most cases, you’ll need two AAs.
- Place the compartment cover back on the camera and return it to the wall.
10. Check Your Wi-Fi Connection
Blink cameras require an active Wi-Fi connection to send video feeds, images, and notifications. Any problems with your Wi-Fi network will cause your camera to fail to send motion notifications, even if it is still detecting them.
Check whether your other Wi-Fi devices (phone, computer, etc.) are receiving a signal. If they are, the problem may be with your camera. Otherwise, it’s probably a problem with the network itself.
Most network problems can be resolved by resetting your router. You can do that by following these steps:
- Unplug your router and modem. If they have batteries, remove those, too.
- Wait 30 seconds.
- Plug them both back in.
- Wait up to five minutes for your Wi-Fi connection to come back online.
If the problem persists, you may need to contact your internet provider. There could be a hardware problem or a local outage, either of which they should be able to assist with.
When all else fails, a hard reset can often fix problems with your Blink camera.
The Blink Mini reset button is located on the bottom of the device’s camera segment, right by where the camera attaches to the stand.
You’ll need to press it with a narrow object that isn’t too sharp (I suggest the blunt end of a toothpick). Hold the button in for 5 seconds until the red light is replaced with green and blue lights.
The red light should go away quickly during the reset process. If it takes more than 1–2 minutes, you should contact Blink support.
To get to the reset button on each of these Blink cameras, you’ll need to open the back cover. You’ll find the reset button between the batteries near the top-right of the device.
Use a blunt, thin object (like the back end of a toothpick) to press the button for at least 5 seconds. When the camera lights start flashing, the reset process has succeeded, and you can let go of the button.
You can do a soft reset or a full factory reset with the Blink Video Doorbell. Always try the soft reset first.
To perform a soft reset, remove one of the batteries, wait 5 seconds, and re-insert the battery. The LED should start flashing and then return to normal.
To perform a factory reset, look for the reset button directly above the battery compartment. Press that button with a thin, blunt object and hold it for 5 seconds. The red LED on the front of the doorbell will flash to indicate that the reset process has worked.
Cameras are essential parts of a secure smart home setup. Blink cameras connect to Alexa and other smart home systems seamlessly, making them one of the best options out there. Aside from the occasional motion detection problem and Blink flashing red light issues, they have very few common errors to deal with.
Aside from security, your camera can also be used in some really cool smart home routines. You can, for example, use them with smart plugs to activate devices only when you’re home. That’s a simple way to maximize the energy savings of your smart plugs. Pretty cool, right?
Zak has spent 12 hears in the tech industry focusing on automation, analytics, and cybersecurity. His passion is tech education; he uses his industry expertise and STEM PhD to break down complicated concepts into simple step-by-step guides. When he’s not writing or coding, you can find him binging anything Star Trek or Marvel or reading far too many sci-fi novels.