Waterproof contact sensor or ideas for mailbox?

project_mailbox

(Dan) #1

Looking to put a sensor in the mailbox but it is outside the weather.
Any ideas for waterproofing a contact sensor?

Or recommend any sensors that already waterproof?


(Bob) #2

Sensative strips might be worth looking at.
I have 2 on different outside doors.


(Kraeg) #3

The Sensitive Strips are meant to be weatherproof, I’ve been testing one for the past few weeks and they seem to work really well. They work with a built in device handler too and are on the SmartThings list of compatible products.

Edit: @bobbles beat me to it


(Bernie H) #4

Mine has been in my mailbox, mounted on the door for prob 2 years. Iris open/close. Never an issue with weather. Usually the inside of the mailbox is dry. Otherwise isn’t your mail getting wet?


(jotto) #5

I have been using 3 SmartThings contact sensors outdoors for almost two years with no issues. I simply put silicone around all sides/openings.

Two are under overhangs and will not get direct rain/sunlight. One is fully exposed to rain/elements.

I think in your use case, inside a mailbox, any contact sensor will be just fine :wink: Put some silicone around all openings for extra precaution if you like.


(Aaron S) #6

Something to keep in mind - the sensor case may not be exposed to rain, etc., but fluctuating temperatures can cause the batteries to fail faster and/or condensation to build up on the circuit board (for non outdoor rated sensors).


(Marc) #7

I’ve used the ST multi sensor for my mailbox which is a good 100 feet outside away from my hub and it’s worked very well for me. Battery life has been great also.


(Luke) #8

You get 100’ with the multipurpose sensor? I can’t seem to get my sensor in my mailbox to maintain a connection with my hub which is only about 50 ft away. It sends open/close notifications for a short period of time, but later that day it’s no longer reporting. I wish there was a cheap repeater that I could put outside. Outlets are a little expensive given that they have no exterior use for me.


(Marc) #9

Strangely yes. Yet I’ve had issues inside my house with the same model.


#10

There have been quite a few project reports over the years about different mailbox options.

The sensative strips are quite new, available in both the US and the UK, and definitely worth considering for several reasons. They are designed for outdoor use, they can be painted, they are Z wave plus which gives them a longer range, and the thin form factor may work well in many mailboxes. But they are more expensive than some of the other options.

In the US, as of this writing (February 2017), The smartest house has been offering a bundle deal of one sensative contact sensor and one zooz motion sensor, which makes the value more comparable to some of the other brands.

You can see what some other community members have used by checking the project reports category of the quick browse list in the community – created wiki. There’s a list there for mailbox notifications. :sunglasses:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Project_Reports.2FQuestions


(Dale C) #11

I use to have an range issue with my mailbox sensor but I found the cheapest fix for me was to replace my mailbox to one that was plastic because the old metal one drastically reduced the range on mine. There are lots of choices available today at your home improvement store.

FYI: I just used the less expensive door sensor and removed the magnet to glue it directly to the side wall to minimize contact with hands, mail, etc. Like @Mbhforum I haven’t had any trouble with the sensor reliability or battery life outside.

[quote=“Aaron, post:6, topic:76936”]
and/or condensation to build up on the circuit board
[/quote] I don’t think this is an issue with devices mounted inside the mailbox? Sort of like a car parked outside doesn’t have condensation issues on the electronics inside the car. However if you are really wanting to waterproof the sensor you can try using this Superhydrophobic stuff. At the 3:28 mark you will see a demo of waterproofing a smartphone.


(Cristofer Johnson) #12

You don’t live where I live.


(Dale C) #13

The inside of your car has condensation issues?


(Cristofer Johnson) #14

It can, yes. I’ve even had the inside of my car instantly fog over while driving.


(Dale C) #15

Got it! That is different case. I said a “parked” car implying the temperature wasn’t changing inside. Sorry my bad for not being more clear.


#16

Thanks for posting that @JDRoberts. We also carry a 3-pack of the Strips Sensor which brings the price down to $48 per sensor: http://www.thesmartesthouse.com/products/sensative-z-wave-plus-strips-invisible-door-window-sensor-3-pack


(Luke) #17

This type of sensor is promising for the future of smart homes, but until a company can get sensors like this down to $15-20/each, I can’t imagine there is going to be a whole lot of traction beyond geeks like those of us on this forum.


#18

We purchase from manufacturers and factories directly all the time and can safely say that unless the production process is completely altered with technology that brings the cost of all existing material goods down about 30-40%, a $15-20 price point is not possible for these sensors. We haven’t seen any Z-Wave Plus contact sensors on the retail market for $15 so far, unless it’s a single mark-down for a big-box store who is selling them at a loss to get rid of competitors.
Strips has been a great seller despite its price point and the fact that’s it’s a new brand with just one product in the market. But if someone offered the product to us for $10 so we could sell it for $15, we’d take it :wink:


(Dan) #19

Does anyone know if the Strip will work in a metal mailbox?


#20

The issue you will have with strips is that it is still a zwave signal. The metal mailbox could result in a complete loss in signal, or a significantly reduced signal strength, even being zwave Plus. For instance, I used a ecolink contact sensor on mine, I originally tried to mount the sensor to the bottom of the mailbox so that it would not be enclosed inside the box. It still was unable to get a signal out. I really wanted to try the sensative strips due to their compact nature, but didnt want to invest the $50 in something I figured wouldn’t work as I hoped.

Ultimately I bought a weatherproof gangbox from the hardware store and wired eternal contacts to the EcoLink sensor. This way there is no issue with weather/water.

If you do decide to give it a shot, and it works, PLEASE let us know :slight_smile: