Ring’s cameras and doorbells are fairly well built: they feel good quality and sturdy when you take them out of the box. They are also simple enough to install: whether they are battery-powered or hardwired, you shouldn’t need to bang them or force them into position when installing them.
So I was surprised to recently walk past my Ring Floodlight Cam, and see that the camera lens had almost fallen out. Why had this happened? And is it easy to fix? Let’s take a look.
- Many of Ring’s cameras have a small, protective plastic lens cap.
- These can sometimes fall out, especially on Ring’s outdoor cameras.
- You should NOT try to force this back in, or glue it back in place.
- In most cases, getting a replacement camera from Ring is the best option.
Why The Ring Lens Pops Out
Master Yoda has a popular saying:
Saw a round, flat cap on the floor, did you? Dropped by the Ring camera Gods, it has.– Definitely Master Yoda
Okay, okay, I might have made that quote up. But if you do ever see a round plastic cap near any of your Ring devices, it’s possible that the camera lens has simply fallen out.
Alternatively, your Ring camera (or doorbell) might look like this:
Ring’s cameras and doorbells often have a small, round, plastic lens cap that helps protect the camera sensor from dust, dirt and rain. Unfortunately the (minimal) glue that keeps this in place can sometimes wear off, resulting in the lens cap falling off – or almost falling off.
In my case, my Ring Floodlight Cam Plus’ lens cap started to fall off just 1½ years after I installed it on my driveway.
While most of Ring’s cameras and doorbells have some form of protective plastic lens (that can fall out, or break), the round lens on the Ring Floodlight Cam and Ring Spotlight Cam are most likely to fall out.
While Ring haven’t publicly commented on why these two camera types are most affected, it is thought to be a mix of reasons:
- Outdoor cameras are exposed to harsher environments than an indoor camera. Your outdoor cam will be hit by rain, wind, freezing temperatures and scorching sunlight. Over time this can wear down the adhesive that is used to keep the lens cap in place.
- There might be a potential design flaw with the Ring Floodlight and Spotlight Cam ranges. The actual ridge that the plastic lens sticks to is fairly narrow, meaning that there is only a limited amount of adhesive that can be applied (to keep the lens in place). As a result, the adhesive can simply wear away and fail over time. It would be better if the lens physically clicks in to place, but this does not appear to be how Ring have designed these cameras.
Can You Stop The Lens From Falling Out?
The only real way to stop the lens from falling out is to move it to a more stable environment, where it doesn’t get hit by rain, sunlight and freezing temperatures. Heck, putting it back in the box (and storing the box indoors) might work well!
But joking aside, if you have a Ring device (and especially an outdoor one), unfortunately there is not much you can do to stop the lens from falling out. You instead need to keep an eye on the condition of your Ring cameras and doorbells, and take action if the lens does start falling out.
What To Do When The Ring Camera Lens Falls Out
It’s pretty frustrating when this plastic lens starts falling out, especially because if you hop on a ladder and try to pop it back in, you’ll soon notice a design flaw:
There is usually no physical ‘latch’ on Ring’s cameras that allows you to securely pop the lens back in. What this means is that the more you play with the lens, the looser it will become (or it might just fall off completely).
So… don’t keep wiggling the lens. The best approach is to call up Ring’s customer services, because a few of the alternative approaches are not very good (I quickly cover the three bad approaches below, to show why you should not do them!).
Bad Idea #1: Ignore It
If you notice that the plastic lens cap on your Ring camera or doorbell is loose, you definitely should not just ignore it. That lens cap is protecting the sensitive internal camera sensor from dust, debris, rain and moisture. By ignoring a loose lens cap, you might be damaging your Ring’s camera sensor.
In the best case, your Ring recordings will simply become a bit foggy over time. But in the worst case, the sensor might get damaged to a point where your recordings are all black – or completely unusable.
Ignoring a problem rarely solves it: in-fact, it usually leads to worse results down the line.
Bad Idea #2: Glue It Back In
Here’s a (trick) question for you: which of the following types of glue is best for gluing your Ring camera lens back in?
The answer is of course the non-toxic glue on the right. You can be sure that the non-toxic materials won’t damage the electricals or the camera sensor!
Just kidding. Naturally you should not try and glue this camera lens back in: you might accidentally get some glue on the sensor itself, which will permanently ruin your camera recordings (it will obsure the view, making the recordings look a bit foggy).
Even if you do manage to safely glue the lens back on, it could impact your device’s warranty. After all, you have ‘tampered’ with a key part of it (the camera lens and sensor). Yes you did it with good intentions, but it’s still not ideal.
In one case, a Ring Customer Support person actually told someone to try and glue it back in – but this was just bad advice from a level 1 support person (they were probably trying to be helpful, to be fair, but it is still bad advice). If you are ever told this by someone from Ring, ask them to:
- Put this in writing, so that you have a clear record that Ring asked you to glue part of your device back together.
- State that doing this will not impact your warranty in any way.
As long as they are willing to do this, it could be worth a shot. BUT I very much doubt they will put all that in writing..!
Bad Idea #3: Throw The Lens Away
If you notice the lens cap on the floor somewhere, you shouldn’t simply throw it away. Yes mistakes happen (maybe you didn’t realize it was from your Ring camera), but this lens cap is crucial to the proper functioning of your Ring camera or doorbell.
It protects the sensitive sensor, and it helps result in a better image quality than if the camera didn’t have a lens cap. It’s similar to how a professional camera comes with a black lens cap (that you remove when you want to shoot). You should never leave your camera lying around for extended periods of time, without the lens cap in place.
The same is true of your Ring device. If you do accidentally throw out the lens cap, I would call Ring customer services up right away and mention that the lens cap fell out (but maybe not mention that you threw the cap out – just say that you can’t find it anywhere!).
Good Idea #1: Try And (Gently) Push It Back In
However if you do still have the lens cap, you could try briefly pushing the cap back in to place. Most of Ring’s devices unfortunately don’t have a ‘latch’ that allows the cap to sit back in place properly, but you might get lucky.
If you are able to pop the cap back on, this saves you having to make a long-winded phone call to Ring customer services. But there are a couple of points I’d caution you on:
- If the lens cap has been off your Ring camera for quite a few days (or weeks), it is possible that the sensitive camera sensor has already been damaged. At a minimum, it probably has some dust or debris on it. Either way, you might start to see some degraded image quality on your recordings. So you should question whether popping the lens back on is the right solution.
- In my experience, once the lens cap falls off once, it is likely to come off again soon – even if it does seem to ‘pop’ back into place easily enough. You should check your camera again ever week or so, in-case it does start become loose again.
To be honest, unless your Ring camera is out of warranty, I would always try to get a replacement if my lens cap has come off.
Good Idea #2: Get A Replacement From The Retailer Or Ring
Most of Ring’s devices are covered by a one year warranty, meaning that if the lens cap falls out, you should be able to return it to the retailer you purchased it from – or call up Ring. Either route should result in a replacement device being given.
If they try to argue against a replacement, I would ask them to confirm whether the camera sensor has been damaged in any way by the lens cap falling off. Unless you are 100% happy with the image quality (after the lens has come loose), I would continue to politely push for a replacement device.
Camera sensors are fairly sensitive, and I wouldn’t really want to keep my (expensive) Ring device when the lens cap has been loose for quite some time.
Thankfully, Ring are usually pretty good at giving replacements out. Also remember that you subscribe to a Ring Protect Plus or Pro plan, you will automatically get an extended warranty on all your qualifying Ring devices.
This is great because Ring might still give a replacement device out, even if it is a few years old.
Does A Loose Lens Affect Ring Recordings/Image Quality?
The reason that I recommend pushing for a replacement device is because a loose or fallen-out lens cap will often result in worse image quality. There are a range of weird image issues you might experience:
- Bad night-vision quality.
- Blurry or foggy images (during day and night-time).
- Weird orbs or lights appearing on the recordings.
- Increased lens flares (where the sunlight reflects off the lens, and causes bright lines on your recordings).
- A round ‘fish eye’ type image, where the only thing recorded is within the immediate circle (of the loose lens):
If your camera or doorbell is out of its warranty, and you are experiencing worse recording quality due to the lens, your only option is to try and pop the lens back (or use a tiny amount of superglue, and hope this keeps it in place). However in all other cases, it is worth going back to the retailer or Ring and asking for a replacement.