Snail mail notification system

[Mime] lives on one of the upper levels of an apartment complex. The mailboxes, being located at the ground floor can be somewhat inconvenient to check regularly. [Mime] decided to rig up a device to let him know when his mailbox had been accessed. He started with a wireless doorbell, thinking he could use the door side button inside his mailbox as a trigger with only some slight modification. On the receiver side, he wanted an LED to flash, letting him know that it was time to check his mail. One simple circuit and a self blinking LED later and the whole setup was finished. Great job [Mime]

28 thoughts on “Snail mail notification system

  1. I like it, I think it would be wise to include a small card inside the mailbox explaining what the device is. Mailmen have a hard enough job without being scared by a unknown triggering mechanism…

  2. I was going to build one with a light sensor that told me when the mail box door had been opened. That would set it, then when I opened it, that would reset it.

    But the problem is, junk mail. It would go off every dang day anyway. So I figured I really don’t need one, I have to empty it out all the time anyway.

  3. I like it. However my mailbox doest have a slot, the mail man opens up the entire front to expose all boxes. I think this would freak him out to see the entire inside. I think I would have to tell him first, or as mentioned above, a card to explain it.

  4. Actually, a group of friends and I are currently trying to figure out how to implement something like this on my college campus that would send an e-mail when mail is delivered. We have to walk halfway across campus to get our mail, and would love a large scale system like this.

  5. What I would like is maybe a small IR ccd camera so you would have an idea of whats in the mailbox. I don’t want to waste my time getting bank statements and bills but when I get an ebay delivery I’d like to know.

  6. Haha, I wanted to build exactly this type of device for my parent’s mailbox when I was 12 or 13.

    I started by salvaging the transmitter and receiver of a radio controlled toy car. But I never got around to finish this project because I got overwhelmed by the complexity of building a reliable switch activated by the mailbox’s lid.

  7. I am designing (on paper) a circuit that would turn on flashing LEDs at our apartment mailbox hut; it serves six large apartment buildings housing mostly elderly residents. The problem is that our mail comes anytime between 11 AM and 6:45 PM (after sundown!), so our older residents walk up to 90 yards to the hut only to find the mail box empty – – was there no mail for them today, or has the mail not come yet?

    Here are the design objectives: When the postal employee closes the big doors, an LED on each of the four walls of the hut will begin to flash to indicate “mail is up”. These LEDs must be visible at 100 yards away from the hut. After about four hours of darkness, the circuit turns off the LEDs. In this climate, the circuitry must operate in a temperature range of 20 to 120° F. The circuitry must be low power, battery operated.

    You cannot give a person the job of turning off the LEDs because they will forget to do it, or they will turn it off too early and thereby mis-inform other residents. The system will run off of a six-volt alkaline lantern battery and will be designed for low power operation (except for the flashing LEDs). I have designed some of the circuitry, but the wiring is getting a bit complex, so I think I will use a microcontroller such as a Basic Stamp since I don’t know assembly language or C, and since the circuit does not have to be fast. I figure an LED can be seen if it flashes 1/4 second every second; this will save power, and I would probably turn on the LEDs one at a time to even out current drain and minimize voltage fluctuations. I have a “hidden” space in the roof of the hut that would keep the circuitry dry and out of sight. The mailman thinks it is a good idea, but I would put a note behind the big door explaining the switch.

    It requires a micro switch, a small solar panel or photo resistor, a timing circuit, etc. I know how to do all this, but if you have any ideas for simplifying or improving on my ideas, please comment. Thanks.

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