Got an idea from another thread on here… used a linear/gocontrol door/window contact sensor. The key is the device supports an external wired contact sensor, so I bought one for <$5 on amazon, hooked it up to the terminals and then ran that wired sensor inside the mailbox… leaving the z-wave transmitting contact sensor on the outside. Success! No more metal box blocking the signal (I, too had tried with a tilt sensor inside before.)
Successful in my tests so far, we’ll see how it holds up in real life!
Closest repeaters are a z-wave switch in my garage (door closed,) z-wave switch inside front door of house (on other side of bricks + closed door) and one outdoor z-wave plus repeater I use for a pipe heater. However, the sensor I am using is not z-wave plus… so suppose if I still have issues I bet if I upgrade it might get it the extra little bit of range it needs to talk to the outdoor repeater that little bit better.
I installed the sensor body facing this way (obscuring useless LED) because I’d rather remove the slotted battery cover than try to pop the entire device back onto the battery cover and because the z-wave antenna is on this side, which I figured would be better if it stuck out from the brick more. Secured with 3M VHB, not too worried about it going anywhere.
With this thing 1" higher under the metal of the mailbox bottom) it did NOT work. I would imagine it’d be a lot easier without a brick + metal mailbox… but if I can get this working surely others can!
As you can see you can’t really see it from most angles, so not worried about looks too much. I wasn’t about to just stick it anywhere else on the brick, though. I think this is a good compromise.
Have had a bit of mail theft in the area for quite some time, so look forward to seeing if anyone is snooping around by having the exact timestamps to reference on my security cameras. (Plus I’ll know if the mail has come!)