Possible Smart Mailbox Idea

Yeah the motion sensor uses IR, which the mail will not reflect much of being in a metal tube. Maybe worth a shot, but I don’t think it will work.

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How about you add something like an additional layer on the bottom that will vibrate when mail falls on it. You can the use a Smartthings multisensor to detect the vibration. If needed, you could reset the layer every time you open the bottom slot to takeout the mail.

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You could also attach a string to the outside flap, have it ruin to the bottom chamber. Attach the bottom end to the multi sensor so that the sensor is suspended off of the bottom, but high enough that it will not be disturbed by someone removing the mail.

When the outside slot is opened the sensor detects being moved and tells you the mail has arrived.


Good point. I thought of this as well. It would work for regular sized mail only, but when our carrier wraps magazines around regular mail and shoves it into the outside door, it never makes it to the bottom. It’s a tight opening at the top so some magazines never make it past the first bend and end of sticking out of top door. In this case, we go outside to remove the mail. Other times they shove it in the top door and it won’t go down or come back out the door. In that case, from the inside, I put my arm up the chute and pull the bundle down.

I thought of training the postal carrier, but we have a new one every other day. Our house was built during the Depression (1936) when mail was limited to letter size and magazines were likely scarce in our neighborhood. Life magazine was so large, it never would have fit anyway. This is why it’s such a challenge for me. Thank you for your input.


I like the idea of having it connected to the exterior door since any mail inserted would trigger the device whether or not the mail falls to the bottom of the chute or is wrapped up with magazines in the exterior door. I do think the solution is related to the exterior flip-up door. The door opening is just so small being about 2" tall x 8" wide. See photos. Thanks!

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I think a Blink camera pointing down would work great. Not only will your wife get a push notification, but she can see the contents on her phone without opening the door.

Why not put a contact sensor on the door? This is what we do…Contact opens, send notification, mailbox opened…

One more thought for when you set up the notification.

I have a multisensor on my mail slot (similar to the idea with the string, just that my slot opens towards the inside). I suggest you set it up to only send you notifications when the mail slot moves and the front door of your home is closed. This way you avoid the false positives when you take the magazines out of the mail slot that did not make it all the way down the slot.

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Yep. I use a similar rule:

Contact Sensor “Changes to” Open
If Front Door Contact “Did not change” in the last 2 minutes…
Send Notification

I thought of doing this, but as you can see in the photo the opening is only about 2" tall. When the carrier delivers magazines, he folds the magazines around mail and shoves it in the door opening. When that occurs, the mail will not go down the inside chute so we need to go outside and pull the mail back out. Sometimes the carrier will push the mail in so far that it catches on the door flap (see photo). It we can’t get it out, we have to put an arm up from the inside to manipulate the mail until we can pull it all down the chute.

What might work is a miniature motion sensor attached to the flip-up door with a wire running to the bottom of the chute, We can tape the wire to the side of the galvanized chute.

This has been our challenge. Our street does not permit curb side mailboxes. Sometimes I think it might just be easier to move! Thanks for your input.

Are there miniature sensors for this small 2" x 8" brass door?

I wish our mailbox was that large. The door opening is only 2" x 8". If there is room for a contact sensor, normal mail would work, but magazines would definitely damage any sensor(unless it’s miniature).

Maybe we should just put a sign up telling the carrier to not put magazines through the mail slot. I will look at sensors including miniatures which can be integrated with a Z-Wave or ZigBee sensor. Thanks for your input.

The Visonics are mostly flat. I also saw someone using a flat magnet with it as well. Might work for you…

Does anyone have experience with Sensative Z-Wave Plus Strips Invisible Door Window Sensor? I read they cannot be used on metal, but I wonder if they mean metal that would interfere with the magnets in the strips. Since our flip-up door is brass and non-magnetic, this may not be an issue. It comes down to size.

Does anyone have experience using these strips? Thanks…

Although it’s small, it may be too large for my application. Almost anything attached to the brass flip-up door will get knocked off when the postal carrier stuffs mail and magazines through the small 2" x 8" opening.

Has anyone tried the sensitive strips?

Your wire comment gave me an idea. I could run some fish line from the flip-up door down to the bottom of the mail chute. The bottom cavity is about an inch below the inside door so a “false bottom” could contain a vibration sensor. For example, Vision Z-Wave Shock, Vibration & Glass Break Sensor ZS5101US

The fish line could be enclosed inside a “sleeve” and taped to the inside of the mail chute so mail wouldn’t disturb it. The sensor could be attached to a small spring.


  1. The postal carrier opens the flip-up door.
  2. The fish line connected to the flip-up door is pulled upward which moves the sensor located in the bottom of the chute.
  3. The movement signals a SmartThings app to send a message or .wav file to an iPhone.
  4. After the sensor is moved by the string, a spring pulls the sensor back to its original position for the next mail delivery.


This will probably work but I would be worried about mechanical issues over time.

How about using a contact switch somewhere on the mail slot mechanism and running a wire to a z-wave sensor or that allows to connect an external relay.



Great idea if it will fit. I’ll check it out when I get home tomorrow night. Thanks!

I’ve been thinking about this a bit more for the notification when the front door is open. Our main front door is solid oak and has a push button sensor in the door jam. The sensor is hard-wired to a Honeywell Vista 20p system. In addition to the main door, we have a security storm door which we keep locked even while we’re at home. With the main door usually open when we’re home, I’m not sure this idea can work. But, it is a great idea! Thanks

I’ve been thinking about this a bit more. Our main front door is solid oak and has a push button sensor in the door jam. The sensor is hard-wired to a Honeywell Vista 20p system. In addition to the main door, we have a security storm door which we keep locked even while we’re at home. With the main door usually open when we’re home, I’m not sure this idea can work. But, it is a great idea! Thanks

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