The idea for this project came after a situation some of you have experienced before. It was Saturday and I waited impatiently for the postman who had a new smart home gadget in his luggage for me to test. In order not to run in vain to the empty mailbox it would be cool if the mailbox reports as soon as something was thrown in. With all kinds of smart home there should be a solution.
Apple only: Eve Door and Window Sensor
In the course of time a lot has accumulated in my smart home collection. Among them was an Eve Door and Window Sensor* from Elgato which had been unused for some time. This contact sensor, which is only at home in Apple’s Homekit universe, was ideal for installation in our mailbox due to its size. Unfortunately, Android users cannot implement this solution. The coupling of the sensor via Bluetooth was quickly done by scanning the Homekit code in the Eve app and thus ready to be attached.
3M Outdoor mounting tape holds !
For mounting inside the mailbox I chose an outdoor mounting tape from 3M which should not become brittle at changing temperatures. The installation was also done in a few steps and the following function test was successful.
Notifications and Automation
In order to get information as soon as something is thrown in, you can activate the notifications for this sensor in Apple’s home app. Once activated, you will be notified by push as soon as the mailbox lid is opened and closed again. If this is not enough for you, you can also create an automation which switches home kit lamps, sockets and other devices. If suddenly the whole apartment shines in yellow you know that it is time to go to the mailbox. So that you can use the notifications and automation outside your own four walls, Apple unfortunately requires a control center. This can be an iPad with at least iOS 10, an Apple TV 4 / 4K and recently a HomePod.
Bluetooth range limits
Eve relies on Bluetooth for data transmission in its products. Depending on the local conditions, the range is unfortunately limited. In order for everything to function smoothly, the control center must be located very close to the Eve Door and Windows Sensor. As a quick solution I was absolutely satisfied with it. In the long run I am thinking of a solution with more range which can also be used with Android. For this I have already considered the sensors of the Chinese manufacturer Aqara which support both Android and Homekit and are also quite cheap with 8-10 dollars per sensor. The sensors are already on the way to me with what will be tinkered in a short time again.