Getting started - new home with lighting, climate and garage door opener

I’m working on new construction and I have the following issues, and I’m not sure what the solutions would be:

What I need to control
35 Dimmable loads of LED lights (12V)
20 Auxiliary/3 way switches (12V)
5 Honeywell wifi RTH9580 Thermostats (no app controller I’ve heard of so far that can do this)
Liftmaster (MyQ capable) Garage door opener - no Z-wave interface I know of so far - on forums there is a relay solution for this, but I’m not exactly sure what it attaches to, the motor directly, or the button in the garage? Which wires need to be spliced?
4 Wireless Motion sensors - This is simple
2 Wireless IP Cam - this is simple
2 Wireless door lock - this is simple

I don’t know if the Z-wave switches/dimmers support 12V - they all say 110/220v

You don’t say what region you are in. If you are in the European region you could possibly use the Fibaro relays and dimmers which can switch 12-24 volts when using an external power supply. Fibaro has said that they will be releasing in the U.S. “real soon”. They were supposed to release pricing yesterday, but…

The present U.S. products from Leviton, GE/Jasco, Linear/Evolve, Aeon Labs are all 120 volt load switches and dimmers. They cannot be used for 12 volt loads. The exception to this are the dry contact relays such as the Remotec Zwave Dry Contact Fixture Module or the Evolve LFM-20 Fixture Module or the Fortrezz MIMOlite Interface bridge Module.

The garage door solutions on this forum use dry contact relays of one sort or another to close the garage door opener’s push button circuit as I described in this thread.

Thanks for the insightful reply. I am in the US (Northeast), Right now there are standard decora switches/dimmers. The garage doors, in that case, I’m not too worried about.

Regarding the Fibaro relays, if they are released (I’m looking for february or march install), would that mean I have to have 110v power at the switches in order to power the relay that controls the 12v loads? If so, that would not be possible at a majority of switch boxes.

The Fibaro relays are powered by 120/240V AC. I would hope that Fibaro would be released by March 2014, they’ve been promising/threatening to release U.S. product since March 2013, at least. But, who knows?

Is 12V DC really the way you want to go? It is a good choice for marine applications or for off grid solar installations, but for standard home construction it creates more issues than it saves over using AC.

There are more and more AC LED lighting systems as well as DC LEDs that are controlled by dimmable AC power supplies and controllers. These work well with Vera and the standard Z-Wave dimmers and relays.

If you must go 12V DC then you may be better off with something like an Arduino based Home automation system. You can get Arduino and USB controlled relay boards quite cheaply, but it’s not going to be a Common Off The Shelf(COTS) system like Vera and Z-Wave.

Edit: One more thing. Since this is new construction, run wires everywhere! Do not plan on wireless control. Plan on wired control and then add in wireless in the spots you forgot or didn’t realize to plan for. Wired alarm sensors, wired audio, wired ethernet, wired everything you can think of.

[quote author=Z-Waver link=topic=18131.msg140587#msg140587 date=1386803120]

I just wanted to second this statement so you did not think its just the opinion of one person. Small gage contact wire is cheap. Having owned both wireless and wired alarms, I will never go back to a wireless alarm. Constantly dealing with odd battery sizes and communications issues. I just bought a 35 year old house and I wired everything before painting and moving in. Alarm, speakers, ethernet, new phone and new cable.

Also, I had researched several home automation protocols before recently settling in on Z-wave. I am not aware of any of them operating on a 12vdc system. You will either have to wire in a 120vac circuit with low voltage relays just to operate the control system or you will have to setup a 12vdc relay system as Z-waver mentioned.

I wish I could have taken that advice, currently walls are all closed. The best would have been to run some conduit throughout the house, but theres a crawlspace and attic, so snaking to locations is not impossible, just more trouble than it might be worth.

I don’t know why the electrical contractor was hellbent on MR16 LV lighting, but now its something we’re stuck with. Not all fixtures are 12V, there are some 110v light fixtures. I just got off the phone with the electrician that stated that all the lighting is MR16, but every light has its own transformer. All the wires in the wall are carrying 110v. He still states that ordinary dimmers may not be used with this setup. He says the transformers are ELV if that makes a difference.

In this case though, it looks like Z-wave will work with the lighting, right? I just need to decide on a dimmer and auxiliary switch and order the right amounts of each?

Any ideas about the thermostats (honeywell wifi)?

I also have 13 more thermostats that I would want to put on the system if I found a way, but theres only 2 wires going to those thermostats (heat only). The only way I see that working is with NEST (powersharing) or something that would be battery powered (ugh).

So, here’s the situation… No one on this forum really knows what you have installed. And frankly, you don’t seem to really know or clearly understand what you have, either. So, getting advice here is going to be problematic and error prone. I would recommend that you discuss your desire to implement home automation, possibly with Z-Wave and Vera devices, and let him tell you what will or will not work. This is the best way, not only is he a licensed electrician, he also knows exactly what you have.

Having said all that, you can probably use the standard Z-Wave relay switches to control your 120V power supply to your LV lighting transformers. Your electrician “states that ordinary dimmers may not be used with this setup”. This could mean no 120V dimmers at all, or it could mean that you need dimmers capable of dimming Electronic Low Voltage(ELV) such as the Leviton VRE06-1LZ Electronic Low Voltage Scene Capable Dimmer(dat PRICE! OMFG), or it could mean that dimming must be done on the low voltage side(less likely).

You have 13 thermostats? Is this central heating or is this a split system? You either have an insanely large home or, I suspect, you actually have 13 temperature sensors that go back to a more typical number of thermostats, like one or two in an average sized American home. There is usually only one thermostat per air conditioner/furnace combination.

Here again, you may wish to speak with your HVAC contractor and tell him your goals and let him recommend the best fit. When using Vera, I prefer to stick with Z-Wave. But, Z-Wave thermostats are quite a bit more pricey than the WiFi version of the same thermostat, so if your desired thermostat is available in WiFi, that will probably be cheaper. I’m unaware of any Z-Wave thermostats that will accommodate more than 2 or 4 external temperature probes. But, what do I know?