How to Program Occupancy Sensor?

The installation of occupancy sensors can speed up energy savings for your office, shopping mall, and retail space. With these convenient features, visitors can enter or exit a limited-access area without difficulty, making the job easier for facilities managers to turn the lights off. How do recently set up occupancy sensors function when they do not trigger the way they are supposed to?

Although it isn’t always necessary, you may want to tweak the occupancy sensor settings after they are installed in order to make sure they are performing at their best. Within moments, you can optimize sensors in the restroom, office, storage area, or other secure areas by following these steps:

1. Take care of the initial setup

If you installed an occupancy sensor, it may be necessary to wait for a few minutes before it becomes fully functional. Generally, Intermatic DSR Series occupancy sensors will take around 3 minutes to adjust once they are activated. As a result, it performs better in the area where it’s installed. Whenever you wonder why something doesn’t seem to work on your device straight away, take a walk or get some coffee. By the time you return, it will be ready.

As a next step, you should set or select the appropriate sensor mode for space, when applicable. With the flip of a switch, many sensors allow you to change from occupancy to vacancy to walk-through mode.

2. Vacancy vs. Occupancy Settings

Once you set the occupancy mode in your sensor, it will switch on whenever movement in the room is detected, and it will switch off for a predefined number of minutes after the room is empty.

In addition, there is a walk-through or automatic mode, which only activates the load on sustained and short periods of activity. In this way, people can save energy and keep lights off when moving through space, like a hallway or kitchen.

In vacancy mode, users must turn on a load manually using the switch on the sensor embedded in the wall. If no one is in the room, the light turns off automatically after a period of time. This kind of setup is often found in storage areas or single-person bathrooms since it is natural for people to turn on the lights when they enter these spaces.

3. Choosing the proper range

According to the size and type of your property and the types of activities detected by your sensors, some manual modifications may have to be made to the time settings and control zone, so it is tailored to your specific environment.

To begin, take one flathead screwdriver and look for range settings on the control. Whenever your sensor triggers repeatedly, or you have it in a confined space, lower its sensitivity by turning the dial towards the left. Alternatively, if you don’t see any triggering from your sensor when an occupant is present or if the sensor is placed in a large room, in that case, you may need to increase the sensitivity by moving the dial towards the right side.

The first few times you use it may cause some error or trial, but after a few minutes, you would probably find the perfect balance between efficiency and responsiveness.

After you have established the range, turn the device’s dial to its OFF setting and select a period that works for you. An area that has a lot of common space or a large cubicle plot might need OFF periods of a few minutes, while a modest closet might require only 15 to 30 sec to make users comfortable. The sensors from Intermatic include an adjustable timer between 15 and 30 seconds, making them highly customizable.

Applications of occupancy sensors

 1. Training room/conference room

Control needs: A sensor having ON/OFF control over it. Sensors should be sensitive enough to pick up motion since there is not much movement in a meeting room. During presentations, lights must be able to remain off.

2. High School Classroom

Control needs: Since people spend most of their time sitting still, ON/OFF controls with the highest sensitivity are necessary.

3. Elementary classroom

Control needs A system for turning lights on and off based on the occupancy. Dimming of fixtures next to windows during daylight hours. Manual switching and dimming of two separate zones of lighting based on different presentation scenarios: The first zone is the middle lamp of the indirect/direct fixture, the next zone is the outer lamp.

4. Library

Control needs: In each book stack, there should be an ON/OFF switch. It should turn on when someone walks down the aisle, and adjacent stacks should not have lights on when no one is in them.

5. Lunch/Break Room

Control needs: You need to make sure that the sensors aren’t peering into adjacent areas when you’re dealing with kitchens and break rooms. Additionally, you need to be aware of any furniture that could interfere with the sensor. A mounted sensor can act as a stand-alone solution in an enclosed kitchen or break room. The use of a sensor mounted in a corner of the attached kitchen/break room or a mask attached to a sensor mounted on the ceiling can help prevent picking up adjacent spaces in the kitchen/break room attached to the hallway.

6. Data Centers

Control needs: Data centers can be challenging places to plan occupancy sensor layouts. It tends to be a stale, boring space because the server racks are typically high (preventing sensor access to sensor data). Ultrasonic and PIR technologies can also be affected by the hot, moving air within the space. All of these factors should be taken into account when creating layouts for these spaces.

7. Gymnasiums

Control Needs: Gymnasiums don’t have the option of installing occupancy sensors on the ceiling because of their high ceilings. Other challenges that gymnasiums face include possible damage to sensors and mountings on the wall and equipment hanging from the ceiling that can block the view of sensors. In addition to equipment mounted on walls, sensors cannot be placed in certain areas.


Once the final adjustments are made, you can shut the occupancy sensor cover and start using it. Do not forget, you are free to make adjustments in the future, as per the needs of residents or activities to adapt.