Mail Box notification

I am trying to use a ST multipurpose sensor to detect tilt on my mail box. All works fine indoors or even close to the house. I think the problem is range. I found an article about the Iris smart plug that could be used as a range extender for both Z-wave, and Zigbee. In trying to install the Z-wave channel it installs as a “Thing” and won’t go any further I am still getting the message to “please wait”. I was able to install the Zigbee side of the extender, but it doesn’t seem to help extend the range. Further, I am concerned that the metal (stainless steel) mail box is blocking the radio signal from the ST sensor.
If I am close to the house everything works well, the sensor detects the tilt and it send me a text to say “You’ve got Mail” Thoughts and or suggestions please…

Mailbox notification projects are very popular. There are a number of project reports about them on the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, so I would just start by looking over some of those. There is a separate list just for mailbox notification projects, so that’s probably the best place to start. :sunglasses:

I use a ST Multi-sensor which triggers a virtual switch that I base CoRE pistons off to notify when mail has arrived and mail has been picked up. My mailbox sits about 100-125 feet from my hub and I’ve rarely had signal issues, but once in awhile it will fail to notify me.

My favorite part is, I also use a Simple Device Viewer dashboard in my Tesla to let me know if there is mail in the mailbox so I know to walk down my 100 foot driveway to go get the mail :slight_smile:

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I just finished my MailBox alert system. I tried the MultiSensor with little success. I finally went with a Dragon Tec Z-Wave Smart Plug in the garage as a repeater and a MonoPrice No Logo Z-Wave Plus Door/ Window sensor in the mailbox. I have the sensor on the door and the magnet on the frame. It is 20 foot to the garage Dragon tec Plug and another thirty feet from the Plug to the Hub. Without the Plug I got no signal. With the plug works every time. My only concern was that I was going to use a remote reed switch which the MonoPrice sensor allows, but my sensor was broken. But it works fine now without the reed switch.

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I am using Simple Device Viewer how did you make the icon for your devices?

In the Dashboard settings there is a place to input CSS rules. You can pretty much do anything with CSS such as using custom images, re-sizing, etc. Unfortunately, b/c of how awful Tesla’s browser is, SmartTiles doesn’t load properly. The upcoming ActionTiles won’t either since it’s based off HTML5 I believe.

My advice is to use a text editor like Notepad++ and copy and paste into this field by sending it from your pc to phone using PushBullet.

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Ok so you just used your own icons and host them and use img tags for each?

Correct, imgur or tinypic are good for that.

Thanks. I might try that.

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I found that adding a zigbee light bulb to my front porch light fixed the range issue I had in communicating from my house (aluminum sided) to my mailbox which is about 70 feet away. The mailbox itself is plastic. Also, you might need to do the zigbee ‘heal’ (discussed in other forums; you power off the hub for 15-20 minutes so the devices are forced to re-learn their best neighbors for routing purposes) for the Iris plug to be an effective repeater; do this with the mailbox sensor in its final resting place.

It is like you and I talked :wink: I did the exact same because of the limited success with Zigbee. I ended up putting the sensor on the mailbox door then removed the magnet out of the plastic housing and secured it to the side wall. The magnet enclosure kept getting in way with people pulling out mail and knocking it off. Now it is perfectly out of the way and it hasn’t been an issue since. I also replaced my metal mailbox with a plastic version. Have not had any issues with communication or winter weather.

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I have tried contact/tilt sensor and it didn’t work out very well for me because the mailman always managed to knock the sensor off at the door side. I ended up putting a motion sensor at the far end of the mailbox and it’s been working very well for me.

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Thanks Gregor,

I am having that issue also. Do you have a metal or plastic mailbox?

I think I’m still having an issue with getting the signal out of the mailbox.


I was able to mount an Iris contact sensor to the bottom of the mailbox, outside and underneath its ‘floor’ parallel to the front edge (within the shallow recess that the bottom of the mailbox forms with its bottom edges) with the magnet removed from its plastic holder and epoxied to the bottom edge of the door. When the lid swings open, the magnet ‘closes’ the contact sensor which functions as a normally ‘open’ switch in my automations.

With this placement it is shielded from rain and completely invisible (aside from the tiny profile of the magnet at the bottom edge of the door) and may function for metal mailboxes since the radio is outside. I also like the capacity of the CR2 battery as opposed to the wafer type; it has been doing fine since August here in the Northeast.

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I have a standard wooden mailbox post with the arm that extends holding the mailbox and a small 5 inch extension of the horizontal beam on the house side of the post, couldn’t get the sensor to work inside or anywhere near the box (about 75’ from the hub) so I cut out a void on the underside of cross beam that holds the mailbox on the back side of the post, inserted an ecolink contact sensor in a waterproof case, drilled diagonally up through the vertical post so it pops up right behind the bottom back of the metal box, ran a magnetic reed switch to the bottom of the door underneath the box so when it swings open it trips (reversed a DMH for the contract sensor to be normally closed when sensor is open), 100% invisible but for the plate I installed on the underside of the horizontal beam to cover the sensor box. Added an mp3 of the AOL “You’ve Got Mail” to the Aeon Doorbell and project complete…


My mailbox isn’t fully enclosed in metal, so I don’t have a reception issue

What waterproof case did you use? Im looking for one that is small enough to hide under the mailbox.

I’m using a contact sensor with a reed switch extension. The sensor sits under the box, held in place with velcro, and the reed switch is inside. The wire runs through a hole. I’ve got a super magnet on the door positioned where it will shut the reed switch when closed. . . . It works well, but the magnet sometimes gets moved when the mail carrier shoves something big in the box. I guess I could glue it in place.

I’m probably going to replace it with a Wireless Sensor Tags temp sensor. They transmit through metal. I have them on several interior doors. They register very tiny shifts in orientation and work as well are contact sensors in many cases. They would be perfect for a mailbox. They also have a Kumo contact sensor. . . .

I’m moving away from zwave and zigbee sensors. The WST quality is unmatched by all the other sensors I have have around the house. And, so far, the batter life is incredible.

I bought the Mono Price open/close sensor and the reed switch. This Z-Wave Plus sensor worked in my metal mailbox without the reed switch. The batteries are at 70% at 9 months old. I had to install a Z-Wave plus smart Plug in the garage as a repeater. It works perfectly. I also have a WebCoRe Piston which informs me of the mail being delivered, and allows a 5 minute delay allowing me to get the mail and not repeating the alert. If I wait more than five minutes the alert will sound again when I open the mailbox.