Never Miss A Doorbell With This Notifier

[PatH] tells us that he tragically missed a craft beer delivery to his home, and vowed never to let this happen again. His problem was that he’d missed the doorbell, resulting in one of those annoying notes from the delivery guy. His solution? An ESP8266-driven doorbell detector, that both sends him an SMS and records each doorbell press to a Google Sheet.

The doorbell detection is surprising but simple and non-intrusive, instead of running a GPIO line through some kind of interface to the button itself he’s added a reed switch to his ESP8266 board and used that to detect the magnetic field of the bell solenoids. It’s a convenient method, but one that only works with an old-style bell.

When the bell rings the magnetic field triggers the reed switch, and in turn the sketch running on the ESP calls out to IFTTT which triggers both an SMS and a write to a Google Sheets document that records each doorbell activation.

The ESP8266 seems to be a popular choice with doorbell automatprs probably because of its built-in networking and low price, but it’s not the only option. This optocoupler-sensed effort for example uses a Particle Xenon.

14 thoughts on “Never Miss A Doorbell With This Notifier

    1. Mine does, though as the ESP-32-CAM isn’t 100% reliable (getting an image very occasionally locks it up – may be weather dependent? Also occasionally drops off WiFi, though I think I’ve resolved that now) and does incur a delay, I run the doorbell off an arduino (on Ethernet), and that triggers the ESP to take a photo and push it to my phone.
      The arduino pre-dates the esp, but I’ve kept it as I’m not so confident in the ESP’s reliability.

  1. I miss the point. I know of no (i.e. zero) delivery drivers who will hang around and wait while you make your way to them from where ever you might be – they have very tight schedules to keep.
    99% of us (I presume) have somewhere to leave packages (neighbours, back yards etc) and you often have the means to state where such a package may be left in your absence when ordering.
    This is another example of technology where it’s not necessary although I do appreciate the methodology – not the application.

    1. Ours usually wait long enough for me to make it down from the home office. Some don’t and usually leave the parcel, but I still want to grab the parcel quickly as it may be expensive, or if not, I don’t want the wait of reordering if it gets nicked.

      1. That must be nice. 99% of the time I get a delivery the person doing the delivery doesn’t even bother to ring the doorbell. UPS even one time dropped off a package that, per federal law, required a signature onto my doorstep when I was home waiting in the living room for it. No ring, no knock, just a stealth drop off and zoom off.

  2. I tried many methods to detect my doorbell. I wanted to do it as energy efficient as possible too. The problem is that the circuit is AC, and the button is sometimes only pressed for a instant (<50 ms). So my original plan of capacitors, diodes, and a 555 timer just wasn't reliable enough. What worked best in the end was replacing the doorbell button itself with a dpdt momentary button. That allowed me to leave the doorbell circuit alone and focus on detecting the button press but you can still tap into the doorbell circuit for power.

  3. I did the same with my doorbell using a D1mini, but also got it to grab a frame from the camera above the porch. Problems I had were: a very fragile reed switch near the solenoid of my chime, battery life – as there is no convenient AC power and latency of a couple if seconds to get the message. Got around the power issue reasonably well by putting the board to sleep between button presses, but never really got over the latency as it had to reconnect to WiFi and send SMS. It worked well enough for a year or so, but I eventually went to the dark side and got a Nest Hello.

  4. This all assumes the unlikely events that i) the delivery guy will bother ringing the doorbell and ii) the package is actually on the truck. Several times I’ve seen the truck pull up and beaten them to the door, when they’ve been trying to dump a “you weren’t here” ticket and run, or where just turning around after throwing the package on the step. The guy leaving the “you weren’t here” ticket claimed he hasn’t even got the parcel on the truck.

    So for reliable delivery, I recommend detecting arrival of the parcel truck, have bollards, tire chocks or wheel clamps appear out of the pavement and immobilise it, take delivery guy hostage, negotiate with SWAT team for delivery of your parcel if it wasn’t on the truck.

  5. i submitted something similar and submitted to hackaday, but it probably didn’t meet the standard.
    Instead of going to chime, i used the reed switch on voltage transformer. that solves the power problem too (you can piggyback on transformer power lines to power esp8266). Once MQTT message is published, node-red server takes picture from security camera and sends to my phone. Since then I have further enhanced it to now stream the door camera live on my TV as soon as door bell is pressed.

  6. In our house I just added a ACS712 to read the current spike on the line (2 for ~$10). They can read up to 20A, and the code just needed to be wrangled to adjust accordingly for a AC line. I had a Wemo D1 Mini laying around, so it was a relatively cheap project to do.

    I don’t love IFTTT’s SMS capabilities. They say that their tasks run every 15 minutes, though their SMS generally is pretty quick (a few seconds). I didn’t want to risk the delay, so I used Twilio, which has been a fantastic service. I created a virtual number that all my IoT devices use, which I’ve reused to a LoRA mailbox sensor, etc.

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