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I'm having a rather difficult time planning a home automation system for my upcoming project, building a tiny house on wheels.  It's only 192 square feet, so it shouldn't be too expensive to make the entire house extremely intelligent.  It appears that most Z-Wave solutions are aimed at retrofit installations and not new construction, though.  That's a problem.  When you aim to do things the most efficient way and you're afforded the freedom of new construction to do it, it doesn't appear easy to do.   Most of my concerns are based in lighting.  I apologize for the number of issues raised in a single (and first) post, any guidance on any topic is appreciated.

 

I want to use 12VDC LED lighting with dimming and control via Z-Wave.  It doesn't make sense in new construction to run high voltage AC through the walls and ceiling, only to have a transformer/driver at every light fixture.  I'd rather run 12VDC for lighting.  Finding cans/fixtures that run on 12VDC?  Not so easy, and when you find them, the options are very limited.  I thought of using a standard MR16 can and buying  standard dimmable LED bulbs, but you can't find ones designed for DC (most MR16 are 12VAC), and most are not dimmable. Also, it's hard to find the MR16 cans without the attached transformer, which I don't need or want to pay for. 

 

Next issue.  If I'm running 12VDC LED lighting, it seems dumb to run 120VAC to the wall switch, just to power a Z-Wave switch/dimmer; since most of them seem to be designed for that.  I guess an alternative is something more like a handheld remote, but I'd much prefer the system to look installed like regular wall switches and maybe more importantly, operate normally should the Z-Wave hub fail.  I saw the Insteon Mini Remote but reviews on mounting in a switch box are really bad.  I'm not sure that it even works with Z-wave anyway. It sounds like I COULD run 12V to the switch box and design a circuit that would deliver the 0-10V control signal to a Z-wave dimmer, but I really don't want to do that if I don't absolutely have to.  Ideally, are there any Z-Wave switch/dimmers out there that mount in standard switch boxes, can run on 12VDC (or battery) and continue to dim/switch the lighting when the Z-wave hub is down?  

 

Next issue.  When thinking about running 12VDC throughout the house and how best to do that, I stumbled upon PoE lighting using Cat5/6 wiring.  Sadly, most of what's available is for commercial installations.  Lumen Cache is interesting but expensive.  Am I crazy, or should there be some synergy between control/automation and PoE lighting?  I tried to find some interface between Z-Wave and PoE lighting and found none whatsoever.  I had an idea that maybe through a Z-Wave serial bridge, one could communicate with on the Lumen Cache comm bus to control that system, but that would require purchasing about $500 worth of Lumen Cache gear, the bridge and writing my own drivers for HC2 (an additional purchase) and it may or may not work.  Not to mention, I'm only adept enough at programming to be dangerous.   Are there any PoE lighting systems out there or in development designed to interface with Z-Wave or other consumer automation platforms?

 

My aspirations are high for this tiny house, but automation is something I've wanted to do far before going tiny, which I think makes it that much more attainable; but I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel here!

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