Newspaper delivery alert
June 3, 2005 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Our newspaper is delivered any time in a 2-hour range. My dad is forever walking through the house, every 15 minutes, to look out the front window to see if it's here yet. I know you can get wireless alert lights for your mailbox to let you know when the mail has been delivered... do they make any such thing for the newspaper tube? I'd like to get it for Father's Day.
posted by IndigoRain to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
Now, I know I'm a Crazy Hardware Hacker, but couldn't you just use one of the mailbox detectors - on the newspaper tube?
posted by freebird at 12:19 PM on June 3, 2005

Well, I think the mailbox detectors work by detecting the motion of the door opening... there's nothing on the tube that moves. It would need an "eye" or something, I think.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:26 PM on June 3, 2005

Can you fashion a small door for the tube? A piece of metal or plastic, hinged on the bottom, with a small pull-tab would work well. Then you can use the mailbox detector. Or, some kind of button on the bottom of the tube, or a button on the opening (that the newspaper delivery person would press) that lights something up inside the house would work as well.
posted by fionab at 12:32 PM on June 3, 2005

This isn't the exact solution you're looking for, but how about a motion detector just beneath the newspaper tube? They have ones that'll trigger a wireless alarm in your house (searching for "motion detector wireless" find a bunch). You might even be able to mount the detector inside the tube.
posted by bachelor#3 at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2005

Yes, there might not be an "out of the box" solution, but it should be trivially easy nonetheless given a toolbox and an hour or two on Sunday afternoon. So your father's day gift card might have to include "plus FREE installation from one of your highly-trained and fully mailbox-accredited sons!*"

*Special terms and conditions may apply. Service success not guarenteed. No warantee implied or given. It's the thought that counts.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:43 PM on June 3, 2005

Hmm. Maybe a wireless doorbell mounted so that a newspaper laying on it would depress the button?
posted by cairnish at 12:43 PM on June 3, 2005

"and fully mailbox-accredited sons!"
Or daughters... I wouldn't know :)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:45 PM on June 3, 2005

I wouldn't put a door on the thing, at least not if your newspaper delivery critter is as (not) diligent as mine. I'm happy when it hits the driveway.

This is a project that screams out for O'Reilly's Make magazine.

Simplest scheme, were you a hardware hacker, would be an emitter and sensor in the middle of the tube, a la the electric eye that theoretically keeps your automatic garage door from coming down and crushing Fido. I imagine the hardware for that is in any of a dozen ads in Circuit Cellar - the bigger issue would be how to transmit the output to the house and how to indicate the presence of something in the tube.
posted by phearlez at 1:21 PM on June 3, 2005

x10 cam in the tube? He can check it from the TV or PC?
posted by fire&wings at 1:21 PM on June 3, 2005

On a moment's reflection I went looking for the mailbox sensors and found one here. From the comments on vendor sites that the door must be an open-downward one I surmise that it's a simple mercury/gravity switch.

SO if you were of a mind to I would bet you could buy one of these and mod the transmitter to use an electric eye rather than the mercury switch. Always easier to mod than build something like this...
posted by phearlez at 1:33 PM on June 3, 2005

Could you not just leave a note asking the paperboy to ring the doorbell?
posted by cillit bang at 1:33 PM on June 3, 2005

How about a wireless doorbell? You mount it to the bottom of the paper tube and when the paper goes in the weight of the paper pushes down on the switch and rings the doorbell.
posted by HiddenInput at 1:51 PM on June 3, 2005

Thanks everyone, I'm thinking maybe the motion-detector idea... or a button the paper would press.

Cillit - our paper tube is built into the mailbox at the end of the driveway... the paper carrier doesn't actually come to the house. He/she drives up in a car, puts the paper in the tube, and continues on.

I also thought about just using the mailbox alerter, and then asking the paper carrier to open and close the mailbox, but I'm not sure I can get him/her to agree to that, or remember for that matter.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:31 PM on June 3, 2005

I bet if you paid him to remember it, he'd remember it.
posted by trondant at 4:20 PM on June 3, 2005

Be careful not to put anything too scary looking that the delivery guy might mistake for a bomb. Seriously.
posted by leapingsheep at 4:41 PM on June 3, 2005

This brings to mind an old Wordless Workshop (example) I must've seen in a doctor's office. The guy wanted the same thing, but it was done old-school -- you know, with wood. The newspaper inserted into the tube pushed a piece of dowel that then poked through the other end of the tube, dropping a little flag or other symboling device.
posted by blueberry at 6:11 AM on June 5, 2005

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