Maker Monday: Smart Mailbox

 Originally published on October 10, 2018 by Shaun Behrens
Last updated on February 10, 2020 • 3 minute read

Despite all the advancements in technology, we still get old-fashioned mail delivered to our (physical) mailboxes by a mailman. It's a process that is completely analog, and it has its drawbacks. For example: what if you can't see your mailbox from your favorite living room sofa? Imagine you have to get up, put on a robe, go outside, and walk a few hundred feet, only to discover the mailman hasn't yet been? Nightmare scenario! We don't like the idea of you standing disappointed beside an empty mailbox in your robe! No one wants that (least of all your neighbors). So, in the latest episode of Maker Monday, Björn shows us how to digitize an analog mailbox to notify you when you get mail. 


Part 1: Setting up the Mailbox

Björn goes about it by putting sensors in the mailbox to register when either the top or bottom door has been opened. The microcontroller then connects to your MQTT broker to indicate that one of the doors has been opened. 

Björn also explains why he chose the DFRobot FireBeetle ESP32 microcontroller.

Part 2: Configuring Home Assistant

The next step? To integrate the mailbox with Home Assistant so that it recognizes which door has been opened. We also make sure we get a visual notification when new mail has arrived (our Trådfri light from a previous episode lights up). 

Your Ideas?

The concept we use here — providing a signal each time a door (or lid or flap) is opened — can be used in many ways. Maybe on a refrigerator door? Or maybe on a house door? What scenarios would you use this in? Let us know in the comments below! And subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you get our latest videos.