Unfortunately, this blog is about six months behind where I am currently at with my system, hopefully this post will give you an idea of why I have taken this direction.
Armed with the idea of future home automation, I hit the web and had a Google and eBay frenzy that started me off with the basics for interfacing computer to light. My original design was to use an Arduino with EtherSheild to control (toggle and fade) both 240VAC and 12VDC.
Toggling either voltage was easy, good old relays never go out of style. Knowing that any 240VAC work in the future to implement this system would involve an electrician, I choose to use DIN mounted relays.
Fading 12VDC proved easy enough as well, I will post a blog about that soon.
Fading 240VAC however was a problem. The electronics is simple enough on a test bench playing around (using TRIACs) but I knew that making this legal in a home setting would be hard. There are theater faders (using DMX protocol) to fade 240VAC but this was a level of complexity that seemed like overkill to me. I put 240vac fading on hold for the time being to play with other things, the hope was to come back to it but after further playing with MOSFETS, 12VDC and LEDs I realised there was another direction that I could take.