Arduino
Building a Wireless Snail Mail Notifier



You may have already seen Matt Richardson’s wonderful Snail Mail Push project. Our Arduino projects guy, Riley Porter, has put together a snail mail hack of his own. His new workshop is in his backyard, far from his mailbox. Rather than having to walk to the box obsessively to see if mail has arrived, he developed a prototype for this wireless device that alerts him to the mail’s arrival. It’s a wireless Arduino system with a photoresistor sensor that detects when the box is opened and alerts Riley, via a wireless connection and an Arduino, in his shop.

See Riley’s project featured on the Make: Arduino page

More:
Snail Mail Push Alerts

24 thoughts on “Building a Wireless Snail Mail Notifier

  1.  Might be inadvisable as putting non-mail in mailboxes is in some cases illegal, and when its a strange thing with wires and stuff coming out, might be mistaken for a B. as putting non-mail in mailboxes is in some cases illegal, and when its a strange thing with wires and stuff coming out, might be mistaken for a B.

    1. It’s a proof on concept prototype. If he decides it’s worthwhile, he could build it into his mailbox or otherwise make it unobtrusive. The only thing that actually has to be IN the box would be the sensor.

  2. My father has had “wireless” snail mail notification for a long time.  He cut a rectangle of bright yellow plastic from an old roll-up sled, punched a hole in it and tied it to a nail in the mailbox post.  Each day when he closes the mailbox he puts the edge of the plastic in the door.  When the mailman opens the door it falls out and is clearly visible from the house.  Not very high-tech, but it’s been working reliably for nearly 20 years.

    1. 20 years reliably wins out over high tech goodies any day!  This was really a way to show how to use these cheap RF modules with an Arduino.  Thanks for the comment. 

    2. 20 years reliably wins out over high tech goodies any day!  This was really a way to show how to use these cheap RF modules with an Arduino.  Thanks for the comment. 

    3. 20 years reliably wins out over high tech goodies any day!  This was really a way to show how to use these cheap RF modules with an Arduino.  Thanks for the comment. 

    4. 20 years reliably wins out over high tech goodies any day!  This was really a way to show how to use these cheap RF modules with an Arduino.  Thanks for the comment. 

    5. 20 years reliably wins out over high tech goodies any day!  This was really a way to show how to use these cheap RF modules with an Arduino.  Thanks for the comment. 

  3. Question:  in the last step of the build the author says that the receiver says something like “mail’s in” – where does it “say” that?

    I have been thinking about this very concept – but using a small LCD output and speaker to announce ala The Addams Family = “Mail’s In” – using Lerch’s voice.  Of course I dont know how – but this project might help me get close to realizing my concept.  Thanks. 

    1. Right now all that is does its sends a message to the serial port on the receiver.  I just opened the Arduino terminal monitor and watched… The message will pop up there.  However, this is not super functional :)  Who wants to sit with a serial terminal up all the time :)  I am hoping its a good starting place to extend.  Say perhaps do your ‘mails in” with lurches voice.  (Voice shield?)  Or blink some lights… Sound  horns… etc :)

      Let me know if you have any other questions.  BTW I used the “Virtual Wire” lib for the communications.  Just an FYI.  The O’Reilly book I linked in really is full of good example projects.  You should check it out.

      Riley 

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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