In this tutorial, we’re building a Raspberry Pi motion sensor that makes use of a PIR sensor (Passive Infrared Sensor).

Raspberry Pi Motion Sensor

A PIR sensor is a simple but excellent device for detecting when motion has occurred. In older style security systems these sensors were used a lot. However, most modern systems use video. I explain a bit more about the sensor further down this page.

To make this project a little more interesting, we will also be using a piezo speaker whenever motion is detected. Both these devices will need to be hooked up to the GPIO pins to work.

If you’re unfamiliar with electronics, then this tutorial is the perfect way to introduce yourself to different parts and circuits. I highly recommend investing in a breadboard as it will make building circuits a lot easier.


In order to do this project, you will need some equipment this includes a Raspberry Pi PIR sensor and a piezo speaker.

Raspberry Pi

SD Card or Micro SD Card if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or B+ (8 GB+ Recommended)

PIR Sensor

Piezo Speaker

100-ohm resistor


Ethernet Cord or Wifi dongle (These are only required if you plan on remotely controlling the Pi)

GPIO Breakout Kit


Breadboard Wire

While the breakout board, breadboard, and the wire are optional, I do highly recommend using these as they will make your life a lot easier. Also, be sure to check out some of the best Raspberry Pi cases you’re able to get.


If you would like to see a video on how to do this Raspberry Pi motion sensor, then be sure to check out the video I have prepared below.

Please be sure to follow us on social media or sign up to our mailing list if you like our content and would love to stay up to date on all the latest projects.

Can’t see the video? Support us by disabling your adblocker.

Raspberry Pi PIR Sensor Hardware Setup

We will be putting together a simple circuit that makes use of a PIR sensor and also a piezo speaker.

A PIR sensor is most commonly seen in security systems to detect movement before sending the alarm off. They detect motion whenever there is a change of infrared temperature in their field of view.

Most PIR sensors have some adjustable screws on them that will allow you to adjust both the time and sensitivity of them. The time will allow you to set a delay before it goes off (Send a high signal). (About 2-4 seconds). The sensitivity is how much movement needs to occur before it goes off.

The piezo buzzer is a simple speaker that outputs a sound whenever a current is traveling through it. In this circuit, the buzzer will give a loud beep whenever the motion detector circuit is triggered.

A breadboard isn’t necessarily a requirement for this project, but I would highly recommend using one. A breadboard makes prototyping and building circuitry a lot easier.

You don’t have to use a breadboard like I am you can simply hook these straight up to the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Motion Sensor Circuit

To construct the circuit simply do the following.

1. Run a ground pin to the ground rail on the breadboard.

2. Run a 5v pin to the positive rail on the breadboard.

3. Connect the piezo buzzer to pin 7 (Red wire) and the negative rail (Black wire).

4. Run a wire from pin 11 to the breadboard. Place a 100-ohm resistor at the end of the wire. Then connect this up to the yellow wire of the PIR sensor.

5. Now for the PIR sensor run the red wire to the 5v line and the black wire to the ground rail on the breadboard.

Raspberry Pi Motion Sensor Software Setup

To bring our Raspberry Pi Motion sensor circuit to life, we will need to do a little programming. This programming is relatively easy and much like our introductory post to the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins is an excellent way to learn the basics of python.

Firstly, on your Pi enter the following command to create a python script and load it in the nano text editor.

sudo nano

If you don’t feel like typing out the full script you can directly download, unzip and enter the script folder on the Pi by entering the commands below.

Alternatively, you can also download it directly from my GitHub page.

sudo wget
cd ./motion_sensor-master

I will briefly explain what each part of the code does.

Firstly, we import the GPIO & time Python packages as we will need these to be able to interact with the GPIO pins and also pause our script.

We set 3 variables, the first 2 are references to our pins, and thus I have named appropriately. The current state variable is where we will store our sensor state. If this is 0, then it is off, or 1 means it has been activated.

For this tutorial, we will set our GPIO mode to reference the physical numbering of the pins rather than the actual numbering. This numbering is a little easier to understand/remember as all the pins are numbered in order.

We also set up our GPIO pins to be either outputs or inputs. For example, we want to detect motion so our PIR sensor will be input. On the other hand, our piezo buzzer is going to need to act as an output.

import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
import time

pir_sensor = 11
piezo = 7



GPIO.setup(pir_sensor, GPIO.IN)

current_state = 0

In this next part, we have an infinite while loop. This loop means it will never exit because it is always true. (You can still cancel the script by press ctrl+c in the terminal).

We begin by putting the script to sleep for 0.1 seconds. After this, we get the current state of the sensor, and if it is 1 (e.g. detected motion), then we run the code inside the if statement. If it isn’t 1, then we continue to loop continually checking the sensor.

The code in the if statement sends the piezo buzzer to high that should emit a noise. The script will do this for a second then turn the buzzer off. After this, it will wait for another 5 seconds before exiting the if statement and then rechecking the Raspberry Pi PIR sensor.

We have also nested out code within a try, except, finally block. We have added this because we will need to use the keyboard to stop the script. It is also very important that we run GPIO.cleanup() to ensure our script cleans up nicely. The try, except, finally code allows us to do this.

    while True:
        current_state = GPIO.input(pir_sensor)
        if current_state == 1:
            print("GPIO pin %s is %s" % (pir_sensor, current_state))
except KeyboardInterrupt:

Once you have finished working in the script it’s now time to turn it on and test it out. To do this enter the following command:

sudo python

If you move in front of the Raspberry Pi PIR sensor, then it should turn the piezo buzzer on and emit a noise.

If it doesn’t then is likely you have hooked up wires to the wrong pins, or there is an error in the code. If it is a code error, you will most likely see an error in the terminal of the Raspberry Pi.

This tutorial is pretty basic and only the beginning of the many applications you can use the PIR sensor. You can get it trigger all sorts of things from something as simple as a counter (counts as people/cars/things go past it), a Raspberry Pi camera, activate a different script and lots more.

I hope you enjoy this Raspberry Pi motion sensor tutorial and have been able to build a cool circuit and bring it to life with code. If you have any feedback, thoughts, troubles or anything else, then feel free to drop us a comment below.

Get projects delivered to your inbox weekly.