Best Mail Box Sensor for Under $30 (Ecolink Garage Door Z-Wave Tilt Sensor TILTZWAVE2-ECO)

By far the best, cheapest ($27) and easiest sensor to integrate into a mailbox, simply mount to the door, the tilt mech is the best for triggering when mail arrives. The Ecolink works just like a door switch, you can have a push notification and even add a text to let you know when the mail man arrives. Nice to also add an alert if the door is left open for more and 5-10 mins (wind might have blown open)…

The nice thing is this unit works on 3 VDC, so instead of using the 2 watch batteries which don’t work well in cold environments like Buffalo NY, I added a battery holder for 2 AA in series. This gives me over 10 times the capacity with a much cheaper battery. I got a plastic electrical box from the hardware store and bolted it on the door of a Step2 MailMaster Plus Mailbox. I packed the AA Battery pack and sensor in a sandwich bag and works great in the cold, holding 100% after a week at near steady 0 Deg outside temp.

To spice up our text alert, you can add a special text ringtone that says “You Got Mail” for free download to your phone book to make it a nice high end integration for under $30.

SENSOR

MAILBOX

ELECTRICAL BOX
http://www.lowes.com/pd_72472-1716-LEZ08SF_0__?productId=3198737&Ntt=1"+plastic+electrical+box&Ns=p_product_price|0&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_price|0%26Ntt%3D1%22%2Bplastic%2Belectrical%2Bbox%26page%3D2&facetInfo=

BATTERY HOLDER
http://www.amazon.com/1-5V-Battery-Holder-Black-Leads/dp/B00E0IXRUS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422854644&sr=8-1&keywords=aa+battery+holder

4 Likes

I like this idea, and might try it. Any idea if an all metal mailbox would cause a problem with the z-wave signal? Faraday cage much?

@jimmay3, how’s the AA upgrade work in the cold, now that it’s been a year or so?

I think the capacity of the AA is so high for this device that I haven’t even seen a drop in either of the two devices a bit in a year and thats through about one full Buffalo NY winter, so its a must. The factory battery didn’t make it in a month in cold. I also use on my garage door sensor which is cold too, no issues.

Both at 100% after a year.

Garage door also packed in a similar electric box at top of door from Home Depot, wrap all in some bubble wrap and add a batt holder for easy swap out, but never swapped out yet. Both cycled muli times a day and at 100%

ECOLINK GARAGE DOOR Z-WAVE TILT SENSOR TILTZWAVE2-ECO is the best zwave detection device on market for under $28.

1 Like

Awesome, that’s good to know. I appreciate the response.

It may, depending on your distance to hub and your closest device in your zwave mess that could relay the signal to the hub.

Im using a 3320-L door/window open close. Works great and i get temp sensor!

I took the magnet out of the housing and just let it attach to the metal mailbox. Has been running for 2 weeks no issues.

Curious since I got few of them with me which I can use for the mailbox. Where do you live? :wink: Kidding. I meant to ask the winter time low, to see if it can hold up during winter.

I’m in Georgia. Rare to go in negatives. But right now it’s 25.

1 Like

As you can see the mailboxes in the cold normally kill the small watch batteries… @shaun_barrow you said working good for 2 weeks and battery already down to 77%, were these new batteries when you started?

With the AA conversion (over 10x the power capability), my haswent thru an entire winter cycle in Buffalo, actually about 13 months and it’s still at 100%. The little watch batteries get eaten alive with the cold and the additional updating to keep the temp, plus not a cheap replacements… Just something to add to you decision when deciding what unit you get. For under $28, the TILTZWAVE2-ECO has performed great in the cold, for about $1 at Home Depot for an small plastic electrical box and about $.75 on ebay for a AA Battery holder, I haven’t touched in over a year, including a very harsh winter last year.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=aa+battery+holder&_sop=15&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR3.TRC2.A0.H0.X2+aa+battery+holder.TRS0&_nkw=2+aa+battery+holder&_sacat=0

Oddly enough, that battery was 77% when I installed it. I get random battery % from my lowes some are 100% some 77% others 66%. Once I get everything installed and setup. I am going to do a big battery swap out.

But, I will keep an eye on it!

Also, these are running on CR123A batteries, not sure if that helps?

Oh, the mailbox pic above it looked like a small unit with the small watch batteries…

That battery does have a much better rating than the watch batts, looks like 1300-1500 mAh, regular AA’s are about 2500-2900 mAh.

Is there a diff in the size of the CR2 battery, Lowes site says it takes a that in the spec, or just a lithium version of it.

Price looks nice $15, but do you have to run a custom device handler or does ST recognize it?

http://www.lowes.com/pd_388558-41166-DWS901_0__?productId=3735305#img

That is the thread that gets you the IDE to run them.

I have so many of these things in my house now!

So they have a custom device handler, not on the ST approved list? Thus for the Hub V2 folks that means no local processing?

I am still pretty new… I am not sure what local mode means?

Local processing refers to the 2nd version hub which can process locally without ST server processing, thus no internet connection or inherent delays.

Did you solder the wires to the sensor or connect them some other way? I was thinking of using a wooden dowel with screws to make contact and the wires wrapped around the screws.Where I live it gets pretty cold so I bought a double AAA battery case to make the box it is in even smaller. I had a motion sensor in the mailbox and it was a driveway type a little robust and the Post Office complained, they said by law the mailbox is property of the US Post Office and I couldn’t tamper with it… But I got them to agree to a smaller sensor. I had a hard time not laughing when they told me that.

To be honest it’s been so long since I touched these 2 units that I forget, I probably soldered to the back side of the post of the battery terminals, but I do recall some pins inside that I may have used. As you can see, nearly 2 cold winters and the mailbox and garage door sensors are still at 100%, it’s crazy… Best unit on the market for under $30, just nuts, batteries not even a hint of any drain…

I would use this unit for any future tilt type requirements, I also use the Ecolink motion sensors with the stock battery and you can see they are also holding strong too… Best kept secret company on the market for low drain, high quality, and low cost…

My main concern is will the signal reach the house through the metal mailbox? I installed a Z-Wave repeater about fifty feet from the mailbox, so I am hoping it works.