Philips Hue Motion Sensor Light Information

Hue motion sensors are some of the most useful smart home devices out there. They allow you to have your lights turn on and off automatically. They can also be used for more advanced applications and home automation.

These motion sensors also let you know when something’s going wrong. There’s an LED indicator on the face of the motion sensor that flashes different colors and patterns depending on what’s wrong.

Most of the different colors and patterns just let you know the battery level of your Hue motion sensor when it’s starting to run out. Other colors and patterns are used to let you know what stage of set up the device is at. If you’re experiencing trouble with your Hue motion sensor, the LED lights can also be used to let you know what’s gone wrong.

What Are The Hue Motion Sensors?

A Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor
A Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor

Hue motion sensors are one of the most interesting smart home products. They allow you to set in motion, no pun intended, a variety of automations for the rest of your smart home tech.

Hue motion sensors come in two varieties. You can either buy the indoor or outdoor models. The major difference between these two come down to weatherproofing and durability. The outdoor motion sensor is designed to stand up to the elements and deal with a much more rugged environment.

In order to get your Hue motion sensors to connect to the rest of your smart tech, you’re going to need the Hue Bridge. We’ll get into this in just a bit, but the connection between the Hue Bridge and the Hue motion sensors can cause some LED error codes to start flashing.

While the Hue motion sensors are designed to work primarily with Hue’s lighting, you can also use them with a variety of smart home gadgets. Hue motion sensors work with Hue’s application as well as some of the most popular smart home apps like Homekit and Alexa.

Here’s what you can do with your Hue motion sensors.

What Can You Do With A Hue Motion Sensor?

The potential of what you can do with a Hue motion sensor is incredible. Using these sensors to turn on and off your lighting is just the tip of the iceberg, although lighting is a good place to start. The most common use for Hue motion sensors to turn lights on when motion is detected:

Hue app screenshot showing the Hue Motion Sensor config
Hue app screenshot showing the Hue Motion Sensor config

This can be when you’re coming home from work or getting up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water. You can also use them to turn on lights in less frequently accessed areas of the home like your laundry room or the basement. Motion sensors can also be set to turn off lights.

Turning off lights with a motion sensor is a great option if you want to automate your home’s lighting. This works by setting your motion sensors to deactivate your lights after a period of inactivity. The only downside to this is that if they don’t detect any motion while you are actively using the lighting and being still, say reading a book, then they’ll turn off the lights anyway. However, that’s an easy problem to fix.

There are more advanced applications that you can do with your Hue motion sensors. These include using Alexa or Homekit to have your Hue motion sensor control other smart tech in your home. If you combine a motion sensor with a smart plug, you can have nearly any device turn on based on activity in that room. Do you want your coffee machine to turn on when you walk in the kitchen? Well, with a motion sensor and a smart plug you can do this.

While motion sensors might seem like the go-to solution for every smart home problem we can think of, they do come with their own sets of problems. The Hue motion sensor lets you know what’s up with an LED light right underneath the theme motion sensor. This LED light will change colors or flash depending on what’s going on.

My Philips Hue motion sensor in its box
My Philips Hue motion sensor in its box

Let’s decode the mystery of the Hue LED light and see what’s going on under the hood of one of the most versatile smart gadgets around.

Hue Motion Sensor Has A Green Light

Seeing a green LED light on your Hue motion sensor is usually a good thing.

According to the official documentation booklet that comes with the sensor, you should see a blinking green light on your Philips Hue motion sensor when your Hue app connects with your motion sensor. This blinking green light will go away after a second and the motion sensor will still remain connected.

However, many users have reported seeing a blinking green light in error popping up on their Hue motion sensor. Some users even experienced a light that blinks red and green for short periods of time. It looks like both of these are errors that require a reset.

In order to reset your Philips Hue motion sensor all you need to do is press the recessed button on the back of the device:

Back of the Philips Hue Motion Sensor
Back of the Philips Hue Motion Sensor

There should be a small hole on the back of your motion sensor that has a little button inside of it. In order to push this button, you’re going to need a small implement. We suggest unfolding a paperclip as a great option for pushing these tech reset buttons.

After resetting your Hue motion sensor, the LED light on the front should blink several times. Once the blinking is over, the reset is complete. Keep in mind that in order to reset the motion sensor you need to press that button for at least 5 seconds. Some people are surprised by how firmly you need to press down on the button in order for the reset start.

Most users report that by resetting their Philips Hue devices solved any errors involved with the green LED light popping up when it’s not supposed to.

There are two more colors of LED light that we need to talk about. What should we do when an orange or yellow light appears?

Hue Motion Sensor Has A Yellow or Orange Light

Let’s get the most difficult part of the section out of the way first. What color is this LED light?

My Philips Hue motion sensor in setup mode
My Philips Hue motion sensor in setup mode

The Philips Hue community hasn’t quite settled on whether this LED light is yellow or orange. While the official Philips Hue website refers to this as the orange LED light, the smart home community seems to think I could go either way. Suffice it to say that if the light is not green or red, we are dealing with the yellow-orange LED signal.

There are two normal ways for the orange LED light to start flashing. The first is during setup.

When you’re connecting or setting up your Hue motion sensor, the light will flash orange for a short amount of time. This is to let you know that the motion sensor is ready to connect to the Hue Bridge. This orange LED signal will stop flashing after the Hue motion sensor has successfully connected to the bridge. We’ll get onto connectivity problems in the last section of this guide.

The other time the orange LED light starts flashing is to let you know when the battery is getting low. If the sensor detects motion and the battery is low, the orange LED light will start to flash. So if you see the orange LED light flashing, it’s time to give it a battery change.

This covers the basics of the orange LED light. Now let’s get on to the red LED light.

Hue Motion Sensor Has A Red Light

One thing we can rely on in the tech world is that a flashing red LED signal usually means something has gone wrong. The Hue motion sensor has stuck with this tradition and a flashing red light means that your device is experiencing a problem.

Some of these problems are routine and nothing to worry about. The most common reason why the LED light will turn red is that the battery is about to die. If the sensor is detecting motion and the battery state is critical, the red LED light will turn on to let you know that your device will soon run out of juice. When the motion sensor needs to have a battery swap, it will have short red flashes.

Long red flashes indicate a connectivity problem. If your motion sensor is struggling to connect to the Hue Bridge, the LED light will cycle long flashes of red to let you know that there is some problem preventing the motion sensor from connecting to the bridge.

The first thing to do if you’re experiencing connectivity problems with your Hue sensors is make sure that the two devices are within range of each other. The total range of your motion sensor and Hue Bridge will depend on the physical layout and construction of the building in which you are using them. After you check the range, you should look for ZigBee interference.

If your smart home is packed full of the latest smart gadgets and technology, you could begin to experience Wi-Fi and ZigBee signal interference. Another common source of ZigBee interference is the fact that this network and Wi-Fi both use the 2.4GHz radio band. Thankfully, ZigBee and Wi-Fi use different channels on this bandwidth. ZigBee should use channels: 15, 20, or 25 while always avoiding 1, 6, and 11. Channel 25 is a low-power transmission channel per FCC regulations, so it might have a shorter range than other channels.

You can double check the ZigBee channel of your Hue Bridge (and hence your Hue Motion Sensor) via the Hue app. On the old app this was under the Hue Bridge settings, but on the new app you must click “Settings”, “Bridge settings” and then the Zigbee channel is displayed:

The Hue Bridge settings within the Philips Hue app
The Hue Bridge settings within the new Philips Hue app

If interference or a low battery aren’t your problem, it could involve your Hue Bridge. After checking both of those solutions, try resetting your Hue Bridge.

The last solution for the blinking red LED light is just to reset this motion sensor. As we mentioned in the green LED light section, occasionally the blinking red or green LED light combination is a sign that there is a software problem and a reset is the solution you’re looking for.

Now you’re ready to tackle any Hue motion sensor LED light code that comes your way.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

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