New E-mail Notification Light




Introduction: New E-mail Notification Light

Innovative Projects, Diy's, Life Hacks

In this Instructable, I made a New E-mail notification light.

It's a USB dongle that starts to flash when you receive a new e-mail.

If my computer is ever ON, rendering a large video or downloading something, I can quickly see if I've got mail, even if computer's screen is off.

What you'll need:

  • USB sound card dongle.

I got mine from "Aliexpress" for €1 ($1.12)

  • Optional: Shipping Labels
  • A program called "IndieVolume" if you are using Windows.

It's a software that let's you assign applications to use different sound cards. You can listen to the music through the computers speaker, while your girlfriend is watching Youtube with headphones on.

  • Some kind of email client, like Outlook etc.

Step 1:

How does it work?
The idea is very simple.
USB sound card flashes when active, just like a pen drive when you copy files to it.
In other words, if you listed to the music through the USB sound card, LED on the USB dongle will blink.
When audio is stopped, LED will not blink any more.
Blink on receiving e-mail?
So, we can set the e-mail client to use USB sound card.
That's where "IndieVolume" comes handy.
We can change the default incoming sound to a long song.
When new mail will come, USB sound card will start to blink.
All the other computer sounds will use the original sound card.
Ok, let's do it.
I removed the writing from the sound card with an acetone.
Then, I covered the dongle with shipping label.
I draw a few lines, so the USB sound card would look like an envelope.

Step 2:

After plugging the dongle into the computer, windows will automatically install the drivers.

It might set the dongle as a default device to use for the sound, if that happens, set your original sound card back to default device.

Run your e-mail client and set a custom incoming mail sound.

Choose a long song.

Test if it works by sending an e-mail to yourself. (Mr Bean)

When you know it works, keep the email client opened and run the "IndieVolume".

Under "Active Applications" you will see your e-mail client.

Click on it and check "Handled", then chose your USB sound card.

That's it.

Your e-mail client will use the USB sound card for outputting the sound. That means, when new mail is received, sound will start to play (you will not hear it) and the dongle will start to flash.

All the other computer sounds will use the original sound card.

Some things I should mention.

"IndieVolume" is not free, but you can use a trial version before deciding if you want to purchase it.

Another program that does the same thing is "CheVolume" (also not free)

"IndieVolume" is a 32 bit application, but it seemed to work on my Windows 7 64 bit

It might not work with all the e-mail clients. I could not make it work with the "Thunderbird"

I am not 100% sure, but I think on a MAC and Linux you can set applications to use different sound cards without using 3rd party software.

Maybe somebody can confirm it!

There is a way to assign applications to use a different sound card on Windows 7, but the settings are gone after restarting the computer, so it's not practical.

Be the First to Share


    • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

      Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge
    • Digital Fabrication Student Design Challenge

      Digital Fabrication Student Design Challenge
    • Frozen Treats Speed Challenge

      Frozen Treats Speed Challenge



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! really nice! Would love to try but unfortunately the software isn't free :(


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction


    Well, you can try the software for 14 days.

    I hope Windows 10 will let us do it without additional software.


    7 years ago

    at first I didnt know if I liked this concept of taking up a port on my laptop. then I out my 4 years of schooling and engineering in motion and came up with the idea to wire directly into the board to save the usb port and mount the usb device to the back of my laptop screen ( when my screen is closed the computer is still on so I can walk into the room and see it flash or see it from accross the roo. etc.) it wasnt to pretty with the usb sticking out so ( im still planning on doing it) I had the idea to combine this with "I_like_to_make_stuff's" casting/molding tutorial to crate a solid body Email looking cover for the usb stick and then glue it down the the computer that way. when finished ill post a photo.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's a nice idea. Definitely would like to see the end result.

    Pat Pending
    Pat Pending

    7 years ago

    A very clever 'ible!

    Mr AbAk
    Mr AbAk

    7 years ago

    Awesome Ible.....