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

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

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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.

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?

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.

@joelw135, any luck with the signal reaching the house?

No luck even with the repeater 25 foot away. The Metal mailbox blocks the signal.

Should be able to drill a hole and run antenna thru to the outside?

[quote=“jimmay3, post:23, topic:10540, full:true”]
Should be able to drill a hole and run antenna thru to the outside?
[/quote] Any tips on how to attach the antenna to the sensor? What would work for the antenna? Thank you!

If I recall, there is one in the Ecolink Tilt, just pop the case open. I don’t think you can change the length of the antenna, else you will effect the wave length and reception of the sensor, but should be able to drill an 1/8" hole in case and mail box and route it outside the box. Just a thought, I haven’t had mine apart for over a year with the AA Battery mod and it’s still at 100%…

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I didn’t read the whole thread so ignore if this doesn’t help\and or isn’t relevant, but I toyed with adding a mailbox sensor for a while too. I didn’t like the idea of the open\close sensor because I thought there was a good chance it would get knocked off. I decided to try a motion sensor that I could put in the back of the box, but the mailbox blocked every z-wave sensor I put back there. The one sensor that did work was the smartthings multi-sensor which transmits zigbee, so I placed it in the back and it worked flawlessly. I ended up taking it out several days later because I was afraid it would get fried inside the box! The temp outside reached 80 one day and the temp in the box was registering well over 100! I live in a climate that routinely gets over 100 during the summer so I was positive it would likely melt my sensor.

Just sharing my mounting option of my Ecolink Tilit Sensor with AA Battery Pack Mod. These boxes for about a $1 and HD or Lowes have plenty of room to mount sensor and extra battery pack inside and the mail man has never complained and pretty hard for him to knock off.

The plastic mail box and mounting box show no signs of signal loss… and the AA Battery pack is still 100% battery level after over 1 year and 2 harsh cold Buffalo winters… No issues in summer heat either…


HI all I thought this was a very interesting thread. @joelw135. Here is what I did to solve the same issue. I used a magnet sensor extension with wires. So essentially the magenetic contacts are inside the mailbox and the main sensor is outside the mailbox (not shielded by metal, and therefore increasing the signal to the house. Here is a brief idea of how this looks on the doorbell application.

Idea was first put forth by @Mike_Maxwell and is brilliant. I just used it for the mailbox application.
I used the Ecolink Sensor and it is about 40ft away from the house, and the nearest repeater. Seems to work like a charm. I hope this helps you.

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