Community Highlights, first edition!

Back in 2015 and in 2016, we tried starting a series of blog posts called “Community Highlight”, a few times, a blog post appeared about the amazingly awesome stuff our community does with Home Assistant.

Recently, that idea was picked up again by adding an “In Other News” section to the release notes on each Home Assistant release. However, the development pace of Home Assistant is high! As a result, that section is always hidden all the way down somewhere in those release notes. A bit unfortunate, since there is so much cool stuff to be found!

So, today, we present you: the Community Highlights, the first edition!

Technically, not the first, but we rebooted this series, right?

We hope you enjoy this, please let us know in the comments below! Or join us for a little chat in our #lounge at Discord


A different take on designing your frontend

Mattias Persson showed an interesting alternative approach to the design of his Lovelace UI. It looks fabulous; we don’t even know where to start explaining, check the video below for an impression:

Mattias created a post in the Community Forum with all the details, including more screenshots, the things he used and links to his GitHub repository. Everything you’d need if you wanted to replicate this for your own use. Thanks Mattias!

Smart toilet roll holder

Com’on, we all know what it is like to be in the restroom, taking a number two, discovering that you are out of paper.

For the-berik, on our subreddit, it was reason enough to do something about it. He converted his toilet roll holder into a smart version using an ESP8266 chip, a load cell and ESPHome, allowing Home Assistant to know how many rolls of toilet paper are left on the holder.

Click on the video below to see how it works.

Smart toiletroll holder with Esphome and Homeassistant from r/homeassistant

Smart mailbox sensor, the easy way

Another one from our subreddit, where choketube shares his pride for the mailbox sensor he created. He placed a Hue motion sensor inside his mailbox that will trigger if it is opened, really smart and simple!

He demonstrates his mailbox in the video below.

Proud of my new Automation - Hue Sensor in my Mailbox from r/homeassistant

Got a tip for the next edition?

Have you seen (or made) something awesome, interesting, unique, amazing, inspirational, unusual or funny, using Home Assistant?

Please drop us a line and we might include it in next edition.

Share it with us via Social Media:

See you next edition!

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Cool, never thought about a smart mailbox, I have a xiaomi pir deconz sensor, gonna use that :wink:

Some things can be made smarter so easy, just cool :slight_smile:

1 Like

So cool to see all those creative ideas!!
I like them all… :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh man, fingers crossed when I am finally ready to post my Home Assistant tour I am able to get featured here.

Not working if made of metal

crap , mine is , zigbee doesnt work on metal/aluminium?

My (semirural) mailbox is down the driveway, across the road, and about 30 m down the road. I think my solution lies in lora or sms and deep sleep.

Most probably not. Zigbee has a problem and also the magnet of the sensor will magnetize also the box.

EDIT now I read you want to use a PIR sensor in a mailbox? How would that work??

Had this issue with both a zwave and a zigbee motion sensor. Seemed to work fine at first but the metal cage that is my mailbox made this very unreliable. I ended up repurposing an unused iris Moisture sensor, some spare contact sensors and a plastic enclosure to get mine working. Rock solid for the past few weeks.

1 Like

Good call on the mailbox automation! I did that exact thing earlier this week, except I used a Wyze contact sensor instead. Works a treat.

Yeah, if motion is detected? Or I could use indeed ba movement sensor

A guy shared on Twitter one automation that shuts down the :iphone: :electric_plug: when :battery: goes beyond 80%


1 Like

I attached a xiaomi vibration sensor outside of the metal of mine underneath. I got the signal fine but too many false detections.

I have been using a Xiaomi Window/Door contact sensor in my mail box for about a tear now on my metal mail box that not only sends a notification to my phone but also sends a TTS to my surround sound the old AOL voice saying “You’ve got mail” I think the al man liked it the first time he heard it because he opens the lid a few times to hear the TTS through the open window lol

Word great

1 Like

I’ve done the same thing with a Xiaomi Aqaba door window sensor.

Works really well and also sends me a push notification and makes sure my camera is recording in case someone is trying to take something out they shouldn’t.

Me mailbox is made out of metal and it works just fine with two xiaomi door sensors.

I do the same with Aqara Vibration Sensor

In HA I use some sensors and a custom input select drop down with a automation:


  - platform: history_stats
    name: mailbox_lid_count_today
    entity_id: binary_sensor.vibration_postkasse
    state: 'on'
    type: count
    start: '{{ now().replace(hour=0).replace(minute=0).replace(second=0) }}'
    end: '{{ now() }}'


    name: Postkasse
      - Tømt
      - Bør sjekkes
      - Må tømmes
    initial: Tømt
    icon: mdi:mailbox


- id: '1573072650409'
  alias: set postkasse status
  description: Når postkassen åpnes settes input select feltet til "Bør sjekkes"
  - device_id: a7bcdf0d89b348bb8fbdf33505594fe8
    domain: binary_sensor
    entity_id: binary_sensor.vibration_postkasse
    platform: device
    type: motion
  condition: []
  - alias: ''
      entity_id: input_select.postkasse
      option: Bør sjekkes
    service: input_select.select_option
  - data:
      entity_id: media_player.tv_stue
      language: 'no'
      message: Noen er i postkassen
    service: tts.google_say


  - entity: input_select.postkasse
  - entity: binary_sensor.vibration_postkasse
type: entities

It works perfect for some hours, then it looses connection.

I don’t know if this is because of low temperature (< 5 degrees) or if it is just the vibration sensor. The temperature sensor from the same company works perfect.

I use ConBee and have also tried Ikea range extender, but with no improvment of the stability.

Any one have an idea of a sensor that can handle 20-30 meter outside the house?

Updated the blog post. if you have seen or made something cool, you can now send it in as a tip for the next edition:


What’s the distance to next router inside your house? Not sure if it will work, because of the isolation between the walls