I need a recommendation for an indicator light (maybe mailorder?) for my
Here's the situation.
* It's a custom mailbox, basically a door cemented in a pillar of concrete
* It just has a square metal door with a brass inside latch (all metal)
* It's higher than my eyes in the car window by about a foot
* So I have to reach inside to see if anything is in there
* It doesn't even have one of those little red (manual) flags
* There isn't 120v lighting but landscape lighting is only a foot away
I wonder if technology can help me?
It would be nice if there was a way to mount an external LED such that an
internal light sensor activates it to indicate mail in the mailbox.
On Fri, 12 Feb 2010 09:51:08 -0600, Red Green wrote:
That's a GREAT idea ... worth a try.
I had not thought of that.
This is the kind of idea I was hoping to find by asking the question.
I haven't read all the responses yet so we'll see what else comes up. I can
imagine whatever we come up with here will be generally useful to anyone
who can't see "into" the mailbox from their car.
First, the postal service may stop delivering mail if your box doesn't have
a red flag. The flag directs the person-person (used to be mailman) to pick
up outgoing mail.
Second, there are distance from the ground requirements. The old requirement
was 41-45" from the ground. The new requirement (~Jan 2005) is that the
height be approved by the local postmaster. If you're in the 42" range you
should be okay.
Having gotten this far, check the mailboxes at your local box store. There's
an easy way to add a small flag to the box such that the flag goes up when
the door is opened and you can discover the trick by looking at the display
a red flag. The flag directs the person-person (used to be mailman) to
up outgoing mail.
re: "...the postal service may stop delivering mail if your box
doesn't have a red flag. The flag directs the person-person (used to
be mailman) to pick up outgoing mail. "
I'm not arguing as much as I'm questioning the logic here.
Why would the person-person stop *delivering* mail just because he
didn't know if the customer had any mail to be picked-up? On days when
there is nothing to be picked up (s)he's still obligated to deliver
what's in the bag.
It's the customer who may lose out if they have something to be picked
up and don't have a flag. If the person-person doesn't have anything
to deliver on that, they'll just drive on by and not pick up what's in
the box. However, if they have something to deliver, they have to
stop, flag or not.
If the box doesn't have a flag, the box doesn't conform to government
regulations. If the box is non-conforming, the postal service may decline to
In reality, it's just one more reason the postal service may get on your
case. ("It's too high off the ground, it doesn't have a flag, it is not
lockable, it's painted the wrong color, and made of unapproved material, and
we don't like the dog much either!")
re: "If the box doesn't have a flag, the box doesn't conform to
Having never read the regs, I certainly won't doubt what you're
Of course, I live in an area where *nobody* has flags. Our mail boxes
are at the houses and there is basically no conformance of any kind.
My neighbor's is a mail slot next to the garage door, mail drops into
a box. Mine is a black metal box hanging on the wall next to my front
door. The neighbor on the other side has a wooden box on her porch
that says "Male" on it. (really!)
The entire neighborhood is a mixture of just about every type of
receptacle you can think of, *except* for boxes on posts with flags.
If I have something for Dave (the carrier) to pick up, I stand it
"vertically" in the mail box so he knows it's there.
I also shovel a path across my front yard so he can get through the
snow from my neighbor's house and I tip him nicely when he wipes off
my seat at the local AAA baseball stadium. Nice guy. Been my mailman
for 25 years, seen my family go through good times and bad, and always
has time for conversation or a quick joke.
On Fri, 12 Feb 2010 19:45:18 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03 wrote:
I used to live in a place like that. Nobody had flags. Some had mail slots
in the garage door. Others had a black plastic mailbox next to the front
door on the outside wall.
None had flags.
What we used to do was use one of those black office clips to clip outgoing
mail on the OUTSIDE of the mailbox so that the postperson knew there was
In reality it didn't work well becausae if they didn't have any mail, they
never even looked to see if we had mail waiting for them so we gave up
eventually and put outgoing mail only in the blue boxes on the street.
They deliver my mail fine.
I never put outgoing mail in the mailbox to be taken.
So, I can live without the red flag (although it would be nice to have
I went to Lowes today to look again for just the red flag but they don't
sell it standalone.
But the more important thing is to figure out how I can tell if mail is
inside the mailbox.
I was thinking something like the little red light that is on the garage
door. If that beam is broken, there's an indicator that turns on outside.
Seems like a general enough request that others would have resolved it by
now. Or, does everyone always look in their mailbox every day even when
there's no mail inside?
Get a Rubbermaid mailbox. I has a yellow flag on a lever that pops up on the
side when the door is opened. Easily spotted from in the house 100 feet
away. After dark I can shine a bright light o see if it is up.
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