Microwave Doppler Radar Motion Detector Sensor RCWL-0516 Module Board

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The RCWL-0516 is a Doppler radar microwave motion sensor module using the RCWL-9196 IC which can be used as an alternative to a PIR motion sensor such as the HC-SR501 or HY-SRF05. Instead of sensing changes in infrared emitted by a moving person, this sensor uses microwave Doppler radar to detect moving objects.

This mini radar motion sensor module is equipped with an RCWL-9196 IC based on the Doppler microwave induction technology. When triggered its trigger output pin will switch from (LOW) 0V to high (3.3V) for ~2 to 3 seconds before returning to its LOW state. It has a maximum 7 meter (~21 feet) detection distance with adjustable delay time and sensitivity. The detector is not affected by its surroundings, and can operate through glass and other obstructions, providing better performance than traditional infrared (PIR) detectors. It is perfect for DIY microwave motion sensor light switch, security systems, human sensor toys, etc.

The component side of the board is the main detection side and should face the detection area for maximum sensitivity, however, it will also detect from the back side at lower sensitivity. Do not place metal objects within 1 cm of the antenna.


  • Operating Voltage: 4V - 28V, 5V - 12V recommended
  • Operating Current: 2.8mA (typical); 3mA (max)
  • Maximum Detection Distance: ~7m
  • Transmitting Power: 20mW (typical); 30mW (max)
  • Output Control Low Level: 0V
  • Output Control High Level: 3.3V
  • Operating Temperature: -20~80 C
  • Storage Temperature: -40~100 C
  • Dimensions: 35mm x 17mm x 3mm

Pin Definition

3V3: 3.3V power output, can be used as a reference voltage or as a low current (less than 100mA) 3.3V power supply.

GND: Ground

OUT: Control output; when a moving object is detected, it will output high level 3.3V

VIN: 4-28V Input voltage

CDS: CDS photodetector output. NOTE: Not used, photodetector is not installed on the board. It can be added by the user for daytime/nighttime detection.

Adjustment Components

On the back of the board (the side without components) are pads for 3 optional components (0805 dimensions):

Pad / Function

C-TM: Regulates the repeat trigger time. The default (unpopulated) time is 2s. An SMD capacitor mounted here will extend the repeat trigger time. Pin 3 of the IC emits a frequency (f), and the trigger time in seconds is given by (1/f) * 32678

R-GN: The default detection range is 7m, adding a 1M resistor reduces it to 5m.

R-CDS: Internal VCC parallel connection with internal 1M Ohm resistor to CDS pin (RCWL-9196 pin 9) through R-CDS. Connects with a photoresistor (not installed on the board, can be added by the user).

Package Includes:

1x RCWL-0516 Microwave Doppler Radar Sensor Motion Detector Module Board
Operating instructions

RCWL-0516 information from jdesbonnet on Github: https://github.com/jdesbonnet/RCWL-0516

Video review and test of the RCWL-0516 from JohnAudioTech on Youtube:

Video review and test from nenioc187 on Youtube:

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