US20070181661A1 - Electronic mail alert system - Google Patents

Electronic mail alert system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070181661A1
US20070181661A1 US11/349,572 US34957206A US2007181661A1 US 20070181661 A1 US20070181661 A1 US 20070181661A1 US 34957206 A US34957206 A US 34957206A US 2007181661 A1 US2007181661 A1 US 2007181661A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
mailbox
electronic circuitry
mail
microcontroller
electronic
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11/349,572
Inventor
Willis Davis
Original Assignee
Davis Willis N
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Publication date
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Priority to US11/349,572 priority Critical patent/US20070181661A1/en
Publication of US20070181661A1 publication Critical patent/US20070181661A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G29/00Miscellaneous supports, holders, or containers for household use
    • A47G29/12Mail or newspaper receptacles, e.g. letter-boxes; Openings in doors or the like for delivering mail or newspapers
    • A47G29/1209Rural letter-boxes
    • A47G29/121Signalling devices
    • A47G29/1212Signalling devices comprising electrical parts
    • A47G29/1214Signalling devices comprising electrical parts including a receiver located remotely from the letter-box and a transmitter

Abstract

The Electronic Mail Alert System uses infrared emitting diodes and matching detectors to determining the presence or absence of mail. This information is applied to a microcontroller, which provide a coded signal to the transmitter. Each mailbox has its own code and its matching receiver will only accept that unique code. The electronic circuitry will not be seen in the mailbox and everything is automatically done. All the mailperson need to do is deliver the mail as usual.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • Not Applicable
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • Not Applicable
  • REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTOR PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX
  • Not Applicable
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • My invention combine the modem technology of electronics, and the traditional service of mail delivery. Presently, a person spends time looking for the mailperson, wait until they think the mailperson have delivered the mail, or wait until they are sure the mailperson have delivered the mail before they go to the mailbox.
  • There are other devices that can be used to alert the homeowner of mail delivery. For example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,611,333; 6,222,451, and 6,831,888. All of these have one thing in common, they need to be physically attached to an existing mailbox to operate. My invention is different in that it uses infrared emitting diodes and detectors, and the electronic circuitry is contained within a newly designed mailbox. Therefore once the mailbox has been purchased nothing need to be added except batteries. This is more convenient for the homeowners who may not be able to attach the other inventions to their mailboxes.
  • Also previous inventions did not consider outgoing mail. The same motion that will alert the homeowner to incoming mail will send a false signal for outgoing mail. My invention has an actuator that will deactivate the electronic circuitry for outgoing mail, thereby preventing false signaling to the receiver in the home.
  • My newly designed mailbox consider outgoing mail, and is activated automatically when the mail carrier open and close the mailbox door. This mailbox will let the homeowner know the instant mail has been placed inside their mailbox.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The electronic Mail Alert System uses electronics technology to eliminate the need to guess about the time of mail delivery. Hidden within the unique design of the mailbox are infrared emitting diodes, detectors and a microcontroller. These are just some of the electronic components that allow each mailbox to detect the presence of mail and send a unique coded signal to it matching receiver. After the microcontroller in the receiver verify that it have received the valid coded signal, it will alert the homeowner that mail have arrived.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 shows the front of the bottom section of the mailbox.
  • FIG. 2 shows the right side of the bottom section.
  • FIG. 3 shows the cutaway view of the bottom section view from III in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 shows the top view of the bottom section without the false bottom.
  • FIG. 5 shows the side view of actuator 1.
  • FIG. 6 shows the top view of actuator 1.
  • FIG. 7 shows the side view of actuator 2.
  • FIG. 8 shows the top view of actuator 2.
  • FIG. 9 shows the bottom view of the top section of the mailbox.
  • FIG. 10 shows the front view of the top section of the mailbox.
  • FIG. 11 shows the side view of the false bottom.
  • FIG. 12 shows the top view of the false bottom.
  • FIG. 13 shows the top view of the receiver.
  • FIG. 14 shows the schematic of the electronic circuitry in the mailbox.
  • FIG. 15 shows the schematic of the electronic circuitry in the receiver.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The Electronic Mail Alert System is an electronic mailbox and receiver that will alert a homeowner to when mail have been placed into their mailbox. The mailbox is placed along the curve side as any traditional mailbox, and the receiver is placed in the home at a location of the owner's discretion.
  • The mailbox consist of two sections, a top and a bottom. The two sections slide together to form the complete unit. Hidden within these two sections are the mechanical and electronic components that make the mailbox perform its unique function.
  • The receiver is a square box that has its electronic components hidden inside. Atop the box are the components that alert the homeowner to when mail is in the mailbox.
  • The mailbox and the receiver is made of plastic using the injection mode technique, or the vacuum mode technique
  • Actuator 1 (A1), and actuator 2 (A2), manipulate switch 1 (S1), and switch 2 (S2), respectively. A2 is reset (pushed in) when there is outgoing mail. This action will deactivate the electronic circuitry, preventing a false signaling to the receiver. When the mailperson open the mailbox door, A1, which is controlled by the door, will set A2, thereby reactivating the electronic circuitry, which is then controlled by A1. A2 is reset only when there is outgoing mail.
  • When the mailperson open the mailbox door, A1 set S1, this action charges C1. When the door is closed C1 apply a positive charge to the gate of transistor 1 (Q1), this activate voltage regulator 1 (VR1), which supply power to the circuitry. Microcontroller 1 (IC1), then activate infrared emitting diode 1 (IED1), who's light beam is detected by detector 1 (D1). The presence or absence of this light beam indicates the presence or absence of mail. If D1 detects a light beam there is no mail. If D1 do not detect a light beam mail is present. This process is repeated for IED2, IED3, and IED4 and their corresponding detectors D2, D3, and D4 respectively.
  • This process is achieved with the aid of a comparator (IC2). When there is no mail, the infrared light causes the detectors to conduct. This produces a voltage drop across the detector's resistors (R7,R8,R9, and R10). This voltage is compare to a reference voltage (R11 and R12), at the comparator. When the voltage across the detector's resistors is higher than the reference voltage, IC2 will produce a positive (high) output. This output is applied to the inputs of IC1. IC1 is programmed to interpret this high input as an indication that there is no mail present. After IC1 determine that there is no mail present if will automatically turn off.
  • When mail is present, there will be a negative (low) voltage across the detector's resistors. When IC2 compares this voltage to the reference voltage, IC2 will produce a low output. This low output is applied to the inputs of IC1, which is programmed to interpret this low voltage as an indication of the presences of mail. IC1 will then turn on the transmitter section of the circuitry and transmit a code that is embedded in the program of IC1. Each mailbox will have its own unique code. After the code has been transmitted IC1 will turn off the transmitter and itself.
  • The positive charge that C1 apply to the gate of Q1 will keep the electronic circuitry activated for approximately ten seconds. After this time elapse, the electronic circuitry will automatically shut off. This process will ensure that the batteries (B1) will last for approximately six months. The charge, left in B1, can be tested by pressing the battery test switch (S3), located at the front of the mailbox. When the light emitting diode (L1), is illuminated the batteries have sufficient charge. If L1 will not illuminate the batteries need to be replaced.
  • The receiver will turn on when there is sufficient light to activate the photodiode (IC6). IC6 will turn on the voltage regulator (VR3), which will activate the electronic circuitry.
  • When the transmitted code from the mailbox is detected by the receiver's microcontroller (IC4), it is stored in its memory. The received code is then compared to a code embedded in IC4 memory. If the two codes match IC4 will activate the mail arrived indicator. The mail arrived indicator will be a musical tune. The tune will play until the homeowner presses a reset button (S4), located on the receiver box to turn off the musical tune and the receiver.
  • If the two codes do not match IC4 will conclude that the code is not from its corresponding mailbox. This process will prevent false signaling if two electronic mailboxes are in close proximity. The receiver will not activate the mail arrived indicator until it receive its matching code.

Claims (17)

1. An electronic mailbox and receiver.
2-10. (canceled)
11. A curve side electronic mail alert system comprising:
(a) a two sectional mailbox with a door
(b) electronic circuitry and transmitter hidden inside said mailbox
(c) devices for detecting the presence or absence of mail
(d) devices for activating and deactivating the electronic circuitry
(e) an in the home receiving unit means for receiving and processing transmitted data
(f) electronic circuitry in said home receiving unit whereby the homeowner will be alerted when mail is placed into their mailbox.
12. The mailbox of claim 11 wherein said mailbox comprise a top and bottom section secured by a longitudinal interlocking groove and flange that run the length of said mailbox.
13. The bottom section of claim 12 wherein said bottom section have a longitudinal groove on two opposite sides means for securing said bottom section to the top section.
14. The top section of claim 12 wherein said top section have a longitudinal flange on two opposite sides means for securing said top section to the bottom section.
15. The bottom section of claim 12 wherein said bottom section have a false bottom means for concealing the electronic circuitry.
16. The electronic circuitry in the mailbox of claim 11 further including a microcontroller means for controlling the function of the different components of said electronic circuitry.
17. The microcontroller of claiml6 further include an embedded computer program means for to instructing the microcontroller in how to perform its functions.
18. The electronic circuitry of claim 16 further including infrared emitting diodes and their matching detectors means for detecting the presence or absence of mail in the mailbox.
19. The electronic circuitry of claim 16 further including devices means for conserving the battery life by limiting the time that said electronic circuitry receive power.
20. The device for activating the electronic circuitry of claim 11 wherein said device is a two prong actuator means for activating an electrical switch when the mailbox door is closed.
21. The two prong actuator of claim 20 further including a compressed spring means for setting said actuator when the mailbox door is open.
22. The device for deactivating the electronic circuitry of claim 11 wherein said device is a two prong actuator means for deactivating an electrical switch when said two prong actuator is reset for outgoing mail.
23. The electronic circuitry in the home receiving unit of claim 11 further including a microcontroller means for processing the received data.
24. The microcontroller of claim 23 wherein said microcontroller further include a computer program means for instructing said microcontroller in how to process the received data.
25. The electronic circuitry of claim 23 further including a device means for alerting the homeowner to when mail have been placed in their mailbox.
US11/349,572 2006-02-09 2006-02-09 Electronic mail alert system Abandoned US20070181661A1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/349,572 US20070181661A1 (en) 2006-02-09 2006-02-09 Electronic mail alert system

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/349,572 US20070181661A1 (en) 2006-02-09 2006-02-09 Electronic mail alert system

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US20070181661A1 true US20070181661A1 (en) 2007-08-09

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US11/349,572 Abandoned US20070181661A1 (en) 2006-02-09 2006-02-09 Electronic mail alert system

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2976470A1 (en) * 2011-06-14 2012-12-21 Guy Figuiere Device for detecting presence of mail in letter box for person with reduced mobility, has wireless transmitter card sending information about presence of mail to receiver when mail is inserted into mail insertion opening of letter box
US8655795B1 (en) 2013-07-30 2014-02-18 ZiK, Inc. System and method for establishing geographical communication and predicting mail delivery using mailbox-mounted devices
US10455965B1 (en) * 2017-05-02 2019-10-29 Quentin Amati Postal delivery notification system

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4794377A (en) * 1986-05-14 1988-12-27 Alexander Benages Mail signal system
US4868543A (en) * 1986-12-12 1989-09-19 Synpac Corporation Remote mailbox alarm system
US5239305A (en) * 1992-07-30 1993-08-24 Colleen M. Murphy Mailbox deposit indicator system
US5377906A (en) * 1993-10-29 1995-01-03 Mason; Randall Device for detecting and signalling the presence of objects in a closed container and a mailbox containing the same
US5575422A (en) * 1994-07-12 1996-11-19 Peterman; Glenn Extruded reinforced mailbox
US20050122220A1 (en) * 2003-10-14 2005-06-09 Staples Peter E. System to detect mail in a mailbox

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4794377A (en) * 1986-05-14 1988-12-27 Alexander Benages Mail signal system
US4868543A (en) * 1986-12-12 1989-09-19 Synpac Corporation Remote mailbox alarm system
US5239305A (en) * 1992-07-30 1993-08-24 Colleen M. Murphy Mailbox deposit indicator system
US5377906A (en) * 1993-10-29 1995-01-03 Mason; Randall Device for detecting and signalling the presence of objects in a closed container and a mailbox containing the same
US5575422A (en) * 1994-07-12 1996-11-19 Peterman; Glenn Extruded reinforced mailbox
US20050122220A1 (en) * 2003-10-14 2005-06-09 Staples Peter E. System to detect mail in a mailbox

Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2976470A1 (en) * 2011-06-14 2012-12-21 Guy Figuiere Device for detecting presence of mail in letter box for person with reduced mobility, has wireless transmitter card sending information about presence of mail to receiver when mail is inserted into mail insertion opening of letter box
US8655795B1 (en) 2013-07-30 2014-02-18 ZiK, Inc. System and method for establishing geographical communication and predicting mail delivery using mailbox-mounted devices
US10455965B1 (en) * 2017-05-02 2019-10-29 Quentin Amati Postal delivery notification system

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