remote mailbox monitoring

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remote mailbox monitoring

biggus
Hi list,

I've been away for a while, but my box of X10 bits is itching to get deployed in my new place.  One thing I was wondering if anyone encountered and came up with a solution for is a remote mailbox monitor.  The condo complex where I live has the mailboxes about a block's walk from my front door and the casing is all metal.  Since my mailbox will only get opened when I get mail, a door/window unit will work.  The mail sometimes comes when it's dark, so a motion detector wouldn't be reliable.  What I'm struggling with is how to send the signal that far from inside a metal box.  Has anyone had this situation and solved it?  I doubt that they'd like it if I were to drill a hole in the back to pass a wire or a cable attached to a trigger mechanism.

Thanks!
Biggus
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Re: remote mailbox monitoring

krkeegan
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This sounds like a difficult task.  The distance alone seems problematic.

I agree the metal container is going to be a challenge. I dropped a 2 inch wire "antenna" out of the bottom of my metal mailbox.  I am not an antenna expert, but it seemed to help.  My mailbox is only 20 feet away though.

Your only hope might be that a device would be able to transmit when the mailbox is opened.  In my experience the entire front of the wall panel is opened when mail is delivered to those large building mailboxes.  Hopefully, this would provide enough time to send out a message.


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Re: remote mailbox monitoring

biggus
thanks. I believe that that the whole fromnt end is opened whenthe mail arrives, but the opening faces in the wrong direction. I'd have to put the sending antenna right at the edge.  Unless I could use the entire box as an antenna...  It is metal, after all.  Wonder what the max signal distance of the door/window sensors is.



From: krkeegan [via MisterHouse] <[hidden email]>
To: biggus <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 6:23 PM
Subject: Re: remote mailbox monitoring

This sounds like a difficult task.  The distance alone seems problematic.

I agree the metal container is going to be a challenge. I dropped a 2 inch wire "antenna" out of the bottom of my metal mailbox.  I am not an antenna expert, but it seemed to help.  My mailbox is only 20 feet away though.

Your only hope might be that a device would be able to transmit when the mailbox is opened.  In my experience the entire front of the wall panel is opened when mail is delivered to those large building mailboxes.  Hopefully, this would provide enough time to send out a message.


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Re: remote mailbox monitoring

dbemowsk

The metal of the box is going to act more as a ground plane than an
antenna.  If you are going to put an antenna on it you will want to get
it pointing away from the metal box.  To get the best transmission, the
length of the wire matters.  If the wire is the wrong length you could
completely hinder your signal.  The length of the wire is calculated
from the frequency/wavelength that you are trying to transmit. Antennas
work best at 1/4, 1/2, 5/8 and full wavelengths. The formula is
Amount/Frequency in MHz.  For full wavelength use 984.25 (most just use
984) for an amount if you are calculating in feet or 300 if you are
calculating in meters.  From that you can figure out the 5/8, 1/2 and
1/4 lengths.  Typically the formulas just divide out the 984 feet or 300
meters:

Wavelength :         Amount
              Feet   inches   Meters
-------------------------------------
Full       :  984    11,811   300
5/8        :  615    7382     187.5
Half       :  468    5906     150
Quarter    :  234    2953     75

So dividing the wavelength amount for the type of antenna you want by
your frequency will give you your antenna length needed.  Here is an
example using X10 RF equipment making a quarter wavelength antenna:

US based 2953 / 310MHz = 9.53 inches
European 75 / 433MHz = .173 meters = 17.3 centimeters

Having the correct antenna length is going to give you your best
transmission distance.

Dan Bemowski


On Tue, 2014-01-28 at 09:37 -0800, biggus wrote:

> thanks. I believe that that the whole fromnt end is opened whenthe
> mail arrives, but the opening faces in the wrong direction. I'd have
> to put the sending antenna right at the edge.  Unless I could use the
> entire box as an antenna...  It is metal, after all.  Wonder what the
> max signal distance of the door/window sensors is.
>
>
>
>
>
> ______________________________________________________________________
> From: krkeegan [via MisterHouse] <[hidden email]>
> To: biggus <[hidden email]>
> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 6:23 PM
> Subject: Re: remote mailbox monitoring
>
>
> This sounds like a difficult task.  The distance alone seems
> problematic.
>
>
> I agree the metal container is going to be a challenge. I dropped a 2
> inch wire "antenna" out of the bottom of my metal mailbox.  I am not
> an antenna expert, but it seemed to help.  My mailbox is only 20 feet
> away though.
>
>
> Your only hope might be that a device would be able to transmit when
> the mailbox is opened.  In my experience the entire front of the wall
> panel is opened when mail is delivered to those large building
> mailboxes.  Hopefully, this would provide enough time to send out a
> message.
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> CenturyLink Cloud: The Leader in Enterprise Cloud Services.
> Learn Why More Businesses Are Choosing CenturyLink Cloud For
> Critical Workloads, Development Environments & Everything In Between.
> Get a Quote or Start a Free Trial Today.
> http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/clk?id=119420431&iu=/4140/ostg.clktrk
> ________________________________________________________
> To unsubscribe from this list, go to:
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/misterhouse-users
>
>
>
>
> ______________________________________________________________________
> If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the
> discussion below:
> http://misterhouse.10964.n7.nabble.com/remote-mailbox-monitoring-tp19434p19435.html 
> To unsubscribe from remote mailbox monitoring, click here.
> NAML
>
>
>
>
>
> ______________________________________________________________________
> View this message in context: Re: remote mailbox monitoring
> Sent from the Misterhouse - User mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
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