This is a simple to use motion sensor. Power it up and wait 1-2 seconds for the sensor to get a snapshot of the still room. If anything moves after that period, the ‘alarm’ pin will go low.
This unit works great from 5 to 12V (datasheet shows 12V). You can also install a jumper wire past the 5V regulator on board to make this unit work at 3.3V. Sensor uses 1.6mA@3.3V.
The alarm pin is an open collector meaning you will need a pull up resistor on the alarm pin. The open drain setup allows multiple motion sensors to be connected on a single input pin. If any of the motion sensors go off, the input pin will be pulled low.
The connector is slightly odd but has a 0.1" pitch female connector making it compatible with jumper wires and 0.1" male headers.
Note: The colors of the wires can vary greatly. Looking at the unit from the top, the middle wire is ground, the left-most wire is the alarm, and the right-most is the power.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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The PIR sensor and all systems around it work great, fast and steady, though that last part does require the input voltage to be higher than 5 volts. That is, I tried to use the system with my arduino powering it with 5v, but I found the system to be too sensitive for small voltage variations, such as when my arduino would turn on an LED. Even when powered by its own source (5v, grounds interconnected) it was still looping in its own cycle of variation of input voltage, activating an LED, which caused an variation of input voltage. Even with a 3300uF capacitor the voltage couldn’t remain stable enough for the sensor not to be affected. HOWEVER, after hooking the sensor up to its own 12v source, grounds interconnected, (as the manual says you should) the sensor woks perfect! It reacts fast, little bounce, and at a proper distance it has quite the FOV. I especially like that it doesn’t have a build in timer, making the output as raw as possible, and yet translated to a simple on/off ground. Again, I found that it requires its own power source higher than 5v for true stability, but beyond that this little thing is well worth it.