RCWL-0516 Microwave Doppler Radar Sensor Motion Detector Module

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RCWL0516 Microwave Motion Sensor ModuleThe RCWL-0516 is a Doppler radar microwave motion sensor module that can act as an alternative to a PIR motion sensor such as the HC-SR501. Instead of sensing changes in infrared emitted by a moving person, this sensor uses a microwave Doppler radar to detect moving objects.  

This mini radar motion sensor module is equipped with an RCWL-9196 chip 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 detection area for maximum sensitivity, however, it will also detect from the backside at lower sensitivity. Do not place metal objects within 1cm 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

RCWL-0516 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).

Additional Resources:

RCWL-0516 Information on GitHub: https://github.com/jdesbonnet/RCWL-0516

RCWL0516 Module Review and Test by JohnAudioTech on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgVu9n_j9pM

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