Is there a good Zwave sensor I can use for my mailbox?
Some have tried. Caution is Distance and if the mailbox is metal. 30 or so feet from nearest in-house repeater and if the box is metal there may be interference.
Let us see how others answer (do not take me as gospel). I tried the SmartThings Motion sensor, distance about 30 feet from repeater. Not successful in my metal mailbox.
I'd recommend combining the Ecolink DWZWAVE2.5-ECO with wired door/window sensors:
You wire the reed switch sensors to the screw terminals inside the Ecolink, then place the Ecolink outside the mailbox, in a place at least somewhat sheltered from rain. If the mailbox is really far away from any ZWave repeater, you'd need another solution.
Here's an example of that:
Why zwave? I find zigbee has longer range. Here is a thread with useful information including a picture of my setup. Some are choosing wires reed switches but my issue is my postal worker tends to stuff my mailbox with large boxes because they don’t want to walk up to door and I am afraid of knocking off the switch.
Zwave should certainly be less susceptible to disruption from walls/trees/WiFi routers/etc, since it's at ~900 MHz. But real world performance in your situation is more important than radio band.
That thread you linked looks worthwhile, especially:
If you can get the sensor to stay outside and use a magnet on the door like that, it would be worthwhile for just that reason. Good suggestion!
I used a spare Ecolink tilt sensor that I had. The sensor had external contacts that I connected to a reed switch (the type used by home alarms). I mounted the sensor to the bottom of the mailbox and the reed switch and magnet on the door. The sensor with the radio is out of the weather but yet not completely enclosed in a metal box. It has worked flawlessly on ST for a couple years and hasn't missed a beat on HE since I moved it a couple weeks ago. The mailbox is about 40 feet or so from the hub going only through 1 wall or possibly a window.
I just recently replied to a post like this over on FB HE page.
We have the same setup on our Mail box too.
Here is what we did, and it's 100% water proof and been working for me going on 6 years now (from ST to HE).
We have two of these setups on each of our gate entrances.
Using the (*)Estone Waterproof Plastic Electronic Project Box (Amazon), the (**)Bar Switch Sensor Wide Gap Surface Mount Contact Security Alarm System Contact (Ebay), and the Aeotec by Aeon Lab Dry contact sensor.
I drilled a hole on the side of the Estone project box and epoxied the Bar Switch Sensor to it, after it dried I added silicon around it and filled in the non used screw holes. Then wired the Bar switch sensor to the Aeotec Lab Dry contact sensor. I used the silicon as a glue, to hold the Aeotec Lab Dry contact sensor to the inside of the Estone project box. The silicone works great as a glue to hold the two pieces together, but also very easy with a little force to pull apart if needed.
The bar switch sensor "wide gap" surface mount contact works great because they don't have to be very close to each other to be seen as Closed. They can be mounted up to I believe 2" apart and still be seen as connected (close).
Unfortunately the Aeotec by Aeon Lab Dry contact sensor has been discontinue, but the (***) Ecolink Door/Window Sensor has a (not sure about newer models) screw contact terminals inside that can be used. There is lots of projects where people have used them.
Our Mail box with the sensor box mounted to the left side.
Nice, nice, nice. Beautiful house too.
This. I have a metal well house about 75 feet from my hub which is in our home. Nothing Z-Wave would work in the well house. Everything Zigbee does work.
A Zigbee Samsung SmartSense Multi Sensor is the cats meow here, as it detects vibration, and can simply be mounted in a weatherproof enclosure, and mounted to the mailbox. Vibration generates an alert, and no messing about with magnets.
But any "door sensor", Zigbee or Z-Wave, can be converted to a vibration sensor by unsoldering the magnetic reed switch, and replacing it with one of these. Detects vibrations, and closes the contacts, it is just that simple. There are a bunch of sensors one can quickly add to replace a magnetic reed switch, but soldering is a prerequisite.
This forum thing won't let me put a link to the eBay page for the sensor, but the eBay item number is 293436344869, and the description is " 5 Pcs High Quality SW-18015P Electronic Vibration Sensor Switch CACF"
Welcome to the community!
This is an excellent use of a vibration sensor. Thank you for sharing this idea. Have you had any false alerts due to thunder/wind storms?
This is generally true...however some newer contact sensors do not use a traditional magnetic reed switch. They use a different technology (e.g. a solid state hall effect sensor) to detect the presence of a magnetic field. The Iris v2 contact sensors are one example of this.
Here is an old post where someone tried to hack one of these sensors, only to later find out that it caused excessive battery drain.
The vibration is damped down, as the sensor is attached to the inside of the weatherproof enclosure with double-sided foam tape. So, lifting up the (metal) lid on the mailbox and letting it drop it down is detected, as it is a MAJOR impact to the box. I've not had it trigger otherwise, but I would guess that it might false-trigger if a very loud motorcycle drove by, as the empty mailbox mounted on the house is going to vibrate/"resonate" at lower frequencies... 1970s HiFi speaker design parameters kinda sorta work here Fc = sqrt([(Vas/Vb) + 1]), if one considers a mailbox a "ported enclosure".
So nothing's perfect, but "cheap and over-sensitive" is better than "expensive and flaky", as I can fix any false tiggers with more foam, and foam is even cheaper!
On the failure to add a contact open/close to a hall-effect sensor circuit, one will need to look at a typical hall-effect sensor application circuit, and work out a way to make one's input into a small positive voltage to replace the output of the hall-effect sensor. Far easier at the moment to simply buy an older sensor.
Interesting... house-mounted mailbox versus a post-mounted mailbox...
It's definitely worth a try as my magnet/contact sensor is about 95% reliable. Perhaps even combining both the vibration and contact sensor data to enhance sensitivity and weed out false positives... I'll have to give it some thought. Again, thanks for the idea!