Have any of you come up with a good solution for monitoring a mailbox? I see there are a lot solutions for the “american” style mailbox on a post in your driveway. But I don’t have such a mailbox. I have more of something like this:
So there are individual locks on each cell in the row; and a “master” key that opens a row above giving access to all cells.
I want to know if the mailman has been by, and if I received any mail (of course, i’d like to know from whom and what, but lets be realistic And I need it to be non-intrusive. Mailman detection might be best by detecting light from when the entire cell is opened up. Micro switches will be deemed too intrusive for this.
As for detecting actual mail; a simple postcard may not trigger a spring loaded contact in the bottom. It may not break an ir beam. Maybe make an acrylic plate to have at the bottom, single (IR or visible) led in the middle and photo diodes in each corner. Compare current state after a mailman detection with a steady state? I’m thinking there should be some reflection in an empty mailbox, and both more or less depending on how any mail obstructs/reflects the light inside?
If you have any experience or ideas, they’d be welcome! Not sure if I want to go esp8266 and wifi or 433Mhz, I guess I’ll try 433Mhz first as it has better power saving potentials?