Sensor to Check if mail is in the mailbox

Sensor to Check if mail is in the mailbox. Any recommendations?

For example, depending on where your mailbox is, I have seen people who have shared their project or ideas and if they are simply near their diver, there are people who put a door or movement sensor on it. And create an automation that alerts you when the mailbox is opened or detects movement, it’s a quick way to check. Also apart from where the mailbox is located, what are the characteristics of the mailbox (size of the mailbox, the way it opens to put the letters…).

Pardon my English but I use the translator :wink: I hope it gives you an idea and helps you!

I use two Zigbee Aqara door/window sensors. One on the lid (mail in mailbox notification when activated) and one on the access door (mailbox empty notification when activated).

They’re actually not mounted on the mailbox. I have two magnetic reed switch sensors on the mailbox that connect to a run of about 35m of outdoor telephone cable to a waterproof box mounted on the fence near my house where I have good Zigbee coverage. The Aqara sensors are in that.

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I am following this thread; I’m always thinking of doing something like this.

Another option if the mailbox is out of range would be to put a mains-powered Zigbee device as close as you can to the mailbox, to act as a repeater. Obviously that requires mains power, so it won’t work for everyone.

My own mailbox is a standard US rural box with just one door on the front. But it has a little plastic flag which goes up when the door is opened, which I can (just barely) see from the house. So for now it’s hard to justify automating. I was thinking one of these days I could put a garage door sensor on that flag. My point is, check out different mailbox styles to see which ones are easy to put a sensor on.

I have a three door( 2 for checking, 1 for placing) in my mailbox as well so this could work. Only problem might be sometimes people check for mail by using the placing door mail is deposited into. They may not open the others door to actually retrieve the mail if they don’t see something in it. I was also thinking of setting up whatever sensor I ued with a small solar panel and rechargeable battery so it last for years. Can this be rigged like that? I was also wondering about the range of this sensor. I know my cell phone can reach the 2.4 Ghz network at the mailbox with another 10 - 20 feet to spare before dropping signal but would this device be able to reach that far or would I have to increase the gain on the 2.4 Ghz network? It also says in the manual that this requires some sort of hub to use. Can Home Assistant replace the need for that hub? Also, is there any phone home anti-features in this sensor? Finally, I noticed this manual said it is for indoor use only. Is there one designed for outside use?

Also, to notify me of this mail, I plan on using a light plugged into an outlet. Any 2 outlets to 6 outlet devices that can control the power of each individual outlet that you would recommend? Essentially something like a smart version of this. Amazon.com: GE 6-Outlet Wall Tap 2 Pack, Grounded Adapter, Charging Station, 3-Prong, Secure Install, UL Listed, White, 46852: Home Improvement

I don’t think a motion sensor is going to work unless it has mail recognition built into it. There are lizards and frogs that hang out in the mail box sometimes.

Also, to notify me of this mail, I plan on using a light plugged into an outlet. Any 2 outlets to 6 outlet devices that can control the power of each individual outlet that you would recommend? Essentially something like a smart version of this. Amazon.com: GE 6-Outlet Wall Tap 2 Pack, Grounded Adapter, Charging Station, 3-Prong, Secure Install, UL Listed, White, 46852: Home Improvement

Although I haven’t done a project like this, I have kept a few links around from time to time in case I do some time in the future:

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I use a fibaro water sensor tied to a reed switch. I use a neodymium magnet on the door so the reed switch and magnet don’t have to touch. Battery life is variable. In winter I replace every couple to few months depending on weather. When weather is below 0F or above 100F Li-Ion batteries don’t last.

The device is mounted on the side of the mailbox. It is a water sensor so it is very weather resistant.

The sensor is a z-wave device and my dongle in the basement reaches the mailbox.

@ryu I just read your post the other day and then saw this today. I know it’s about a year later but maybe it will still help you or even someone else.

Ring Mailbox Sensor - $29.99 USD

I have read about to many privacy problems with Ring devices. I would never use one on any home setup. Thanks for attempted help at least.

I don’t have the answer, but don’t give up just yet.

Isn’t this “Ring Mailbox Sensor” a z-wave device?
If so, would it work as a regular binary motion sensor, when we pair this device to other z-wave controller?
If yes, then there’s a chance we can get away with zero Ring/Amazon cloud

@Ryu,
Time to add my experience. I also have a distant mailbox and not within site of the house. ZWave signal drops off approximately 30 feet short. in desperation, I installed a MySpool. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074XMZDQG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1t. This is a WiFi device and works with low signal. I will disclose one problem in the three years of use… If the mailman leaves the door open, the batteries (3AAA) deplete quickly. On the plus side, if the mailbox is closed when not in use, the batteries last a year without problem in the winter.
Sence we are not alone on the topic, here is another contender… Downside is it needs its own hub, and there is no information on connecting that into HA.
https://www.amazon.com/YoLink-Outdoor-Waterproof-Notifications-Required/dp/B08P1VQMCR/ref=sr_1_9?crid=1ZQDU9N8BO4KJ&keywords=mail+notification&qid=1653901084&s=electronics&sprefix=mail+notification%2Celectronics%2C74&sr=1-9

@k8gg I just looked it up and it’s the Ring Base that uses Z-Wave. The Ring Bridge uses LoRa. I copied part of what I read and pasted it below…

The Ring Base Station is a hub that translates between Z-Wave and Wi-Fi. It uses Z-Wave to communicate to the devices, and Wi-Fi to communicate to the internet, which includes the Ring app. This gives you the ability to control your Ring Alarm System even while you’re on the go.

In contrast, Ring Smart Lights operate with a long-range connection protocol known as LoRa. The Ring Bridge translates between LoRa and Wi-Fi.

I use an Aqara vibration sensor, though my mailbox has a flap the postman needs open to put mail in.

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I was conjuring up all kinds of ideas. and i had two that seems possible.

  • Use a pressure plate (light weight) kind of sensor. if weight is not zero there is mail
  • use a IR with reflector sensor. (ir led and sensor on top and piece of aluminium foil on the bottom.
    if there is no IR reflection there is mail.
    These two are both a build your own implementation so far as i know