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Ring Doorbell Sun (or Anti-Sun!) Guide: Protect Your Device

You don’t have much choice where to place your Ring Doorbell: it’ll be right by your front door. Maybe a few inches to one side, or maybe even on the door itself. Either way, if your front door tends to get hit by bright sunlight, your expensive Ring Doorbell could be susceptible to anything from lower quality recordings (in the best case) to sun-related damage (in the worst case).

Sun hitting (or being reflected into) your Ring Doorbell can cause low quality recordings, potentially resulting in you being unable to identify visitors. It can also damage your device in the worst case, but this can be avoided.

The problem

My front door (and hence Ring Doorbell Pro) faces almost completely south:

A screenshot of a compass app, showing an almost completely south reading.
My front door (and hence Ring Doorbell Pro) is almost completely south.

What this means is that when the sun is still rising in the morning, it is sufficiently low in the sky to be picked up by my Ring Doorbell:

Ring Doorbell footage capture showing lens flare at 9am in the morning.
It’s a sunny day with clear skies, and so my Ring Doorbell Pro suffers from lens flare at 9am in the morning.

As you can see, the sun is picked up on my Ring Doorbell, causing a ‘washing out’ of the video at the top left. This washing out is known as lens flare. This is fairly common and it’ll occur in pretty much any camera: when the sun (or another bright light) shines into a lens, light will be scattered around inside the lens, causing disturbances to the end image/video.

Equally, my Ring device feels quite hot to touch when the sun is at its peak – around 12pm to 2pm. I live in the UK where it never gets too hot, but if temperatures around you reach 40°C (104 °F), your device could be at risk of overheating. This could cause your internal chime not to work, or even shorten the lifespan of your Doorbell.

So what can you do? Or do you even need to change anything? Let’s take a look.

The sun rises in the east, and sets in the west…

It’s worth briefly recapping on how the sun moves through the sky. Yes, most people know this, but the sun rises in the east (and sets in the west). That means that if (like me) your front door is south facing, the sun will start out at the leftmost of your door and slowly move rightwards throughout the day.

Equally if your front door is north facing, the sun will start out at the rightmost position and move left throughout the day. Or if your front door is east facing, your front door will be directly in-front of the sun in the early morning, then the sun will move right throughout the day (and probably ‘disappear’ from your Ring Doorbell’s view around midday).

Of course, the position of the sun will also change depending on where you live in the world and what time of year it is. For example, it’s summer in Australia when it’s winter in America. I’m in the UK, so it tends to be sunnier between April and August (with some sun in March and September). Knowing all this is important when monitoring how the sun impacts your Ring Doorbell, as I explore next.

Monitor throughout the day

If you’re concerned about the effects of sunlight on your Ring Doorbell, you should perform some quick checks at set times of the day (at least after sunrise, mid morning, lunchtime, mid afternoon, and coming up to sunset). These checks should involve:

  • Checking Live View (or the snapshot captures) from the Ring app, to see whether there’s any sun glare or lens flare issues. Be sure to also check:
    • Are there any reflective surfaces (including lighter colored bricks) in view which could reflect sunlight into your Ring Doorbell, at set times of day?
    • If there is glare/lens flare, does this stop you from being able to identify visitors to your home? Or can you see them easily enough?
  • Check for overheating, which should include:
    • Physically touching your device with your hand (or a thermometer if you have one handy!). If it feels too hot to touch, this could mean your Doorbell is at risk of overheating.
    • If you have a manual chime connected, press this and ensure it still sounds. If it doesn’t, Ring’s safety device might have kicked in to further prevent overheating issues.
    • Check your device’s health status on the app. Does the voltage and WiFi health look normal/usual? If not, this could mean a potential heat-induced issue inside your Ring device – especially if the voltage and/or WiFi health shows issues around 12-2pm each day (when it’s usually hottest).

In my case, I live in the UK and at its peak temperatures hit 25°C (77°F), so I’m not too concerned about overheating (especially since I have the updated version with heatsinks on the side – read more in the overheating section later). But lens flare is a definite issue for me, so I periodically checked my video captures at different times of the day.

At 9am, my Ring shows the following footage (with lens flare) and the second photo shows the location of the sun in the sky (it’s not very high):

Example of lens flare on my Ring Doorbell footage at 9:04am
Example of lens flare on my Ring Doorbell footage at 9:04am
The location of the sun in the sky at 9:04am
The location of the sun in the sky at 9:04am

However by 10:30am (and even before this, by around 10am), the full-blown lens flare has gone because the sun is high enough that a flare isn’t seen. Of course, there is some visual disturbance – but nothing that concerns me:

Ring footage at 10:30am, with no lens flare although some minor visual disturbances from the bright sun.
Ring footage at 10:30am, with no lens flare although some minor visual disturbances from the bright sun.
The position of the sun by 10:30am - it's a lot higher.
The position of the sun by 10:30am – it’s a lot higher, meaning it isn’t directly noticeable by the Ring Doorbell.

By midday/lunchtime (1pm in this case), the sun is at its peak – but it’s so high in the sky that it causes no issues at all to the Ring footage:

Example of my Ring Doorbell footage at 1pm, with no lens flare despite there being bright sun and a clear sky.
Example of my Ring Doorbell footage at 1pm, with no lens flare despite there being bright sun and a clear sky.
The location of the sun in the sky at midday (1pm).
The location of the sun in the sky at midday (1pm).

By mid afternoon (3pm) the sun is now a bit lower in the sky and I start to see some minor visual disturbances again, but mainly just the bright sun lighting up some clouds – certainly no lens flare or anything that would visual identification:

The location of the sun at 3pm causes no issues to the video capture by Ring.
The location of the sun at 3pm causes no issues to the video capture by Ring.
The location of the sun in the sky at 3pm in the UK during spring.
The location of the sun in the sky at 3pm in the UK during spring.

And by 6pm, I can’t see the sun in the sky (possibly due to it being behind a mountain from where I live) and my Ring Doorbell certainly isn’t affected by it:

Ring Doorbell footage at 6pm in the UK.
Ring Doorbell footage at 6pm in the UK – no visible sun, and hence no sun-related issues in the video.

So what does this all tell us? Well by my monitoring, I have worked out that I only get affected by lens flare for an hour or two each morning – and only when it’s a clear day.

Even when flare artefacts are seen, I can still make out visitors to my front door without any issue. Also from feeling my device’s temperature throughout the day (and checking that the voltage and WiFi remains fine), I am not concerned about overheating.

So in my case, I don’t feel the need to take any further action. But I am based in a part of the UK which isn’t too warm or sunny – many people will be affected by much worse lens flare or overheating issues, so read on to discover how to solve these problems.

How to resolve lens flare (if needed)

There’s a few solutions open to you, some of which will depend on the exact position of your Ring Doorbell and where it’s located relative to the sun.

Solution 1: buy a sun hat and some sunglasses

Remember when you took your baby Ring Doorbell to the beach for the first time? You got all excited, bought some sunscreen, an oversized sun hat and little baby doorbell sunglasses – and took loads of pictures for Instagram? Wait, that’s wrong. That’s for human babies. And dogs (yes, you can buy sunglasses for dogs)… but I digress.

Whilst you definitely shouldn’t buy sunglasses for a Ring Doorbell, a sun hat – or sun shade – can be a useful purchase in some cases. If you find that glare is caused by a light source fairly low in the sky, a small sun visor (such as this one from Amazon with 4/5 reviews, for $13.99) can help. You can also buy more decorative ones, some of which are bigger/wider and can block out more sun.

This can be a good solution for some people who have sun coming in from directly above, but for others it doesn’t help – especially if the light source comes in from the sides.

Solution 2: use an angled kit

A wedge/angled kit can be useful to change the angle that your Ring Doorbell faces. It can be really beneficial if there’s a wall right next to your doorbell, since otherwise some (or even half) of the captured footage might be obscured by the wall.

But in addition to this, if sun hits from a specific angle and you’re not too interested about getting motion-activated capture from that angle (perhaps it’s by a barrier which visitors won’t be coming through?), you could use an angle kit to angle your doorbell away from this – and hence potentially avoid lens flare that way.

This again depends on exactly how your doorbell is positioned relative to the sun, but an angle kit can be a good solution for some people.

Solution 3: darken nearby reflective surfaces

Even if your Ring Doorbell isn’t in direct sunlight, the sun can bounce off nearby surfaces – including bricks – and hit your doorbell lens. We all know that glass and white plastic surfaces can bounce the sun around a lot, but did you know that some bricks – and even wood – can?

Lighter materials – and potentially engineered products with a ‘plasticy’ sheen to it – can be more susceptible to this. And they could be bouncing sunlight into your doorbell lens, even if your Ring device isn’t directly facing the sun.

In this case, consider darkening the material (be it by painting, staining or changing the material) and this could definitely help to stop indirect sunlight causing lens flare and other visual issues.

Solution 4: upgrade to the Pro or 3

The lens design of the Ring Doorbell 1 and 2 is rounder and sticks out more than the Doorbell Pro and 3/3 Plus versions. To compare the 2 to the Pro:

A Ring Doorbell 2 and Ring Doorbell Pro side-by-side, showing how the Pro is much smaller than the '2'.
Ring Doorbell 2 and Ring Doorbell Pro side-by-side: the 2’s lens ‘sticks out’ more.

This means that it catches the sun more, and some people have found that their lens flare issues have been reduced – or eliminated – by switching to the Pro model.

I haven’t seen the Doorbell 3 up close, but it looks to be closer to the Pro in terms of its lens design – so it should be better in this regard too. You’ll also notice that the Pro and 3 models have a darker and more shielded housing to the lens – this should also stop light bouncing around more near the lens, compared to the Doorbell 1 and 2.

Resolving Ring Doorbell overheating issues

If your Ring Doorbell is overheating, you should firstly check to see whether this only happens at peak sun time (12-2pm usually) or all the time. If it’s all the time, check the voltage in the app and check the supply cabling (if you’re competent to do so) to rule out the issue being caused by an electrical wiring issue.

Assuming that’s not the cause (i.e. and it is related to sunlight), you can’t practically move the position of your front door! But there are some things that you can try:

  1. Change from the black (or dark bronze) faceplate color, to one of the lighter ones – white or cream. This is simple to try and some people have said that it helps.
  2. Are you able to move your Ring Device to the other side of the door? Or mount it on the wall instead – assuming that either of these options will help avoid the sun a bit?

    This very much depends on your front door location and where the sun is at peak time, but it might help.
  3. Consider looking at a sun shade/hat – as explored in ‘solution 1’ earlier. The sun is usually quite high overhead at its peak, so an above-your-doorbell sun barrier could be useful in blocking a lot of this heat.
  4. If you’ve owned your Ring Doorbell for a few years, or it was manufactured a few years ago, take off the faceplate and check to see that your doorbell has ribbed heatsinks on the back:
A Ring Doorbell Pro wired off (but off the door) showing the ribbed vertical heatsinks running down the back.
My Ring Doorbell Pro with ribbed vertical heatsinks running down the back.

The original Doorbell Pro – produced in 2016 – didn’t have these heatsinks. This seemed to add to overheating issues, and it appears that Ring subtlety changed the design 1-2 years ago to address this.

If your Doorbell doesn’t have these heatsinks, contact Ring support. Tell them your Ring Doorbell is overheating and there’s a flat back (without heatsinks) and ask whether that might be the cause. Some people have had replacement Rings sent to them (with the amended design) for free. It’s worth a shot!

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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