How Do I Add a Mailbox Notification Using Total Connect 2.0?

You can add a mailbox notification using Total Connect 2.0 by installing a sensor on the mailbox, enrolling that sensor with your panel, and setting up a notification for that zone in TC2. This is possible for virtually any Honeywell Alarm Panel that is monitored and set up with TC2.

A sensor fault notification from Total Connect 2.0 will let you know via text and/or email that your mailbox has been opened. This can be a good way to verify when the mail has arrived. You might also use a mailbox alert to determine if someone is vandalizing your mailbox and/or stealing your mail. Suspicious activity that is worth investigating can include receiving mailbox notifications more than once per day, or receiving mailbox notifications at unusual hours of the day or night.

The steps for setting up a mailbox notification are quite simple really. You need a sensor that will install on the mailbox itself and determine when the box is opened. By opening the mailbox, the sensor will fault and alert the system. Then, closing the mailbox will restore the zone. We recommend using a wireless outdoor contact sensor for this job, rather than a garage tilt sensor. A great sensor to use for this is the Honeywell 5816OD, as it will work with most Honeywell Panels that support TC2, and it is rated for outdoor use.

When mounting the 5816OD for conventional use with a mailbox, the smaller magnet should be placed on the door that opens and closes the mailbox, and the larger sensor should be mounted on the stationary portion of the mailbox. The sensor should be as close as possible to the magnet, and the side of the transmitter with ridges should be facing the magnet. Remember that the 5816OD has a magnet spacing gap of 1.25 inches when mounted on steel. Depending on the distance between the mailbox and the panel's receiver, and the material that the mailbox is made of, you may have to put the sensor on the outside of the box. However, whenever possible, we recommend that the sensor be installed on the inside to prevent any unwanted vandalism. Note that the 5816OD is programmed with Loop Number 2 when it is configured for using its internal reed switch in conjunction with a magnet.

Alternatively, you may also consider connecting a hardwired Normally Closed (NC) wired contact sensor to the 5816OD and programming the 5816OD using Loop Number 1 so that a different sensor (a wired one) is used to detect when the mailbox is opened. This is the wireless transmitter function of the 5816OD, and it does not make use of the sensor's internal reed switch or the bulky corresponding magnet. The advantage to taking this route as opposed to the conventional method on Loop 2 is that a smaller wired contact will be less likely to get in the way of mail being delivered, as opposed to the 5816OD, which is a very large sensor. if you opt for this method, then you will need to prepare some wire to connect the 5816OD to the wired sensor. This will be a very short connection of less than the length of the mailbox, so 22-2 wire will work fine for this task. You may want to tape down this connecting wire to the ceiling or floor of the mailbox inside so that it stays out of the way of mail being delivered and is less likely to become disconnected due to mail being pushed or pressed against it.

To prevent vandalism, it's advised that the 5816OD is mounted inside the mailbox at the very back, with the wire leading to the connected sensor. That sensor should be mounted directly next to the accompanying magnet, and the magnet should be on the moving portion of the mailbox door, on the inside of the mailbox. If you cannot get a good signal with the 5816OD mounted inside the mailbox, then you may consider mounting it on the outside of the mailbox, likely on the back, and then cutting a small hole through the mailbox so you can pass through the connected wire. Connect the wire to the wired sensor first, run the unconnected end through the mailbox, and then connect it at the 5816OD. If you do this, then you will not need to use the accompanying magnet that came with the 5816OD. A good wired contact sensor to use for this project is the Honeywell PAL-T, as it is very small and easy to mount out-of-the-way. This contact also has a temperature rating of -40℉ to 194℉.

Also note that for a Honeywell VISTA Panel, a wireless receiver must be added to support wireless sensors. Or if you are using a PROA7PLUS, then a PROTAKEOVER Module is needed to support the 5816OD. The Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell LYNX Touch Systems, and Honeywell LYNX Plus L3000 can all support the 5816OD right out of the box, with no additional hardware being needed. Keep in mind though that a metal mailbox can disrupt range, so it might be necessary to use a wireless repeater, namely the Honeywell 5800RP, to try and increase range. The 5800RP is not rated for outside use, so this may or may not be a viable solution.

When it comes to programming the sensor on a Honeywell Panel, you will use Zone Type 23 - No Response, though the actual name may vary depending upon the panel you are using. This Zone Type will cause a VISTA P-Series Panel or an L3000 Panel to display a fault, but it will never cause an alarm and will not prevent arming. On a LYNX Touch, Lyric, or PROA7PLUS, the No Response option will result in the fault NOT being displayed in the panel, but it will still result in a notification being sent out when properly configured in Total Connect 2.0. In any case, it will never cause an alarm from the mailbox being opened. Another advantage to this option is that the zone can be bypassed for times when you do not want to receive notifications. For example, you might bypass this zone while you are on vacation if you don't care to know that your mail arrived each day while you were gone.

Complete the following steps to add a mailbox notification using Total Connect 2.0:

1. Enroll the sensor. It is often easiest to enroll the sensor before installing it. That way, you can easily fault the sensor when prompted to get its Serial Number to learn in. The process for sensor enrollment will vary depending upon the panel you are using. You will follow the general programming steps for your panel and choose a proper Response Type or Sensor Type for the application. Note that if you are using a 5816OD without a connected wired sensor, then you will want to enroll using Loop Number 2, as that is the loop associated with the sensor's internal reed switch and external magnet. If you are using a 5816OD with a connected wired sensor, then enroll using Loop Number 1. If you are using a different sensor entirely, then refer to its installation manual for the Loop Number.

  • PROA7PLUS: Make sure that your PROA7PLUS is on a high enough firmware version to support local end-user programming. You must add a PROTAKEOVER Module to the panel to support a 5816OD. Enroll the sensor by putting the panel into auto-enrollment mode and faulting the sensor. You can access auto-learn mode by clicking the small menu button (three horizontal bars at the bottom), then tools, then enter the Installer Code (default 4112), then Programming, then Peripherals, and then the add (+) button in the upper-right corner. You can then fault the sensor to get it to auto-enroll. When configuring the zone, set the Device Type as "Other" and the Response Type as "No Response". Set all the other fields accordingly. Save the changes by clicking Save in the top-right.
  • Lyric: See this FAQ for programming a Lyric Security System. Set the Device Type as "Other". the Response Type as "No Response", and all other zone fields accordingly.
  • LYNX Touch: See this FAQ for programming a LYNX Touch Security System. Set the Device Type as "Other". the Response Type as "No Response", and all other zone fields accordingly.
  • LYNX PLUS L3000: See this FAQ for accessing L3000 programming. To access programming, use the command [Installer Code] + [8] + [00], with the default Installer Code being 4112, and the entire command being [4112800]. Zone programming is field *56. You use [*] to move to the next programming field, and [#] to move to the previous field When configuring the zone, set the Zone Type as 23 - No Alarm Response. Program other fields accordingly. Exit programming with the [*99] command when finished.
  • VISTA P-Series: A wireless receiver must be added for the panel to support the 5816OD Wireless Sensor. It is recommended that you only attempt to program using an Alphanumeric Keypad, and not a Fixed English Keypad. Programming is accessed using the command [Installer Code] + [8] + [00], with the default Installer Code being 4112, and the entire command being [4112800]. Zone programming is field *56. You use [*] to move to the next programming field, and [#] to move to the previous field When configuring the zone, set the Zone Type as 23 - No Alarm Response. Program all of the other fields accordingly. Exit programming with the [*99] command when done.
  • TURBO Panels: As with the other VISTA Panels, a receiver must be added to the TURBO Panel in order to support the 5816OD. An Alphanumeric Keypad is also required for local programming on these panels. Enter programming by pressing [Installer Code] + [8] + [000], with the default Installer Code being 4140. The default command to enter programming is [41408000]. Zone programming is accessed by entering [#] + [93] then pressing [1] when prompted "Zone Programming?". Once in zone programming, [*] moves you forward through prompts, and [#] will move you back if you need to correct a mistake or move forward too far. See this FAQ to see how to enable a receiver in device programming. See this FAQ for a walk-through on how to program a wireless zone, keeping in mind that you will be using Zone Type 23 for this configuration.

2. Install the sensor. See this FAQ for installing the 5816OD. Since the 5816OD is weather-resistant, you can mount it on either the outside or the inside of the mailbox. Mounting on the outside will help with wireless range, which is more likely to be an issue if the sensor is mounted inside of an enclosed metal mailbox. To prevent damage, mount the larger 5816OD sensor on the stationary portion of the mailbox, and the smaller magnet on the moving portion that opens and closes the mailbox. Make sure the sensor and magnet are properly aligned. The side of the 5816OD with ridges should be facing the magnet, and the sensor and magnet should be placed as closely as possible when the 5816OD is closed. The sensor has a magnet spacing gap of 1.25 inches when mounted on steel, so you might want to keep that in mind when installing it.

An alternative option is to use the 5816OD as a wireless transmitter with a connected Normally Closed (NC) contact sensor. This is preferable for many users, as the 5816OD is a large sensor that can get in the way and cause blockages when mail is delivered. By using the 5816OD as a transmitter, you can install it on the back of the mailbox, or even outside of the mailbox on the mounting pole where it is completely out of the way from mail being delivered. You can then choose a substantially smaller wired contact to serve as the detector for the mailbox being opened and closed. Again, the Honeywell PAL-T is a great option if you need one.

For the PAL-T, or whichever sensor you use, mount the magnet on the moving portion of the door and the sensor itself on the stationary, non-moving part. A short wire will be needed to complete the connection. It's a very short connection, and 22-2 wire is ideal, but really any 2-conductor alarm wire will work fine, so don't be afraid to use 18-gauge or another thickness of wire if that's what you have on-hand. Regardless of the size you use, don't make the wire too long, as it will fill up the mailbox. You might consider taping down the wire to the ceiling or floor of the mailbox inside so that it stays connected and is less likely to get in the way. As for the 5816OD in this case, it's best to have it inside the mailbox at the far back to prevent vandalism. But if you cannot achieve a good signal from inside the mailbox, then it's okay to mount the 5816OD on the outside of the mailbox on the back. You can cut a small hole into the mailbox if needed to pass a wire through to the inside NC wired sensor that is monitoring the mailbox door. Remember to pass the wire through this hole before completing the connection at the 5816OD. Once both ends of the wire are connected, you cannot pass it through a small hole.

3. Create the notification. See this FAQ for setting up TC2 Text and Email Notifications. You must create one or more user profiles and add any phone numbers you want to receive text message notifications and any email addresses you want to receive email notifications. Then you must assemble all of the relevant users into a desired Notification Group. You can then build the notification. You will set the notification to trigger when the corresponding sensor zone is faulted. If desired, you can set the notification to be sent out only during a certain time of the day. For instance, you might only set the notification to occur during the day when the mail is likely to arrive so that way you aren't notified about the mailbox accidentally being opened. Or alternatively, you might set the notification to only occur at odd hours because it means that someone is vandalizing the mailbox, and the notification won't alert you about routine mail deliveries that occur almost every day. Consider the needs of the notification, and build it accordingly based upon those unique needs.

4. Test the notification. You should test the notification to make sure it occurs. Make sure that it is within the schedule for when the notification will occur (based on how you built it) and that you have access to a phone and/or email address that should be notified. Fault the sensor by opening the mailbox. The sensor will alert the system, which will alert AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0, and ultimately send any programmed text and/or email alerts based upon how the notification was built. You should ideally receive the notification within a couple of minutes. If not, check the programming for the sensor, the notification settings on TC2, and make sure that the sensor is powered on and functioning properly.

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