HAI Soultion, updating from X-10 to Z-Wave Q's


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I am getting ready to update my house from its current Power Control Systems (PCS) X-10 based solution to Z-Wave.   My current configuration is based on eight PCS LM4L/S modules.  Each PCS LM4L/S module can control up to four loads with a total of 2000 watts.  Each load on the module can be configured as a switch or a dimmer such that the control software will see it as a switch or a dimmer properly.  I have Incandescent and CFL's throughout the house, but not mixed on the same circuit, so some circuits configured as switch and others as dimmer.
The LM4L/S modules are housed in two PCS Lighting Control Panels (LCP) and I have one of the LCP located on each end of the house.  All the lights are home run to the two LCP’s.   The lighting is controlled in the house by using the PCS 6-button and 8-button wall controllers located throughout the house.  The wall controllers are connected to AC by picking up the closest wall plug on the A or B branches near the switch plates.   These modules and controllers have been installed for 10+ years without HW failure. We have had minor problems with signal suckers and noise over the years, nothing major.  I have a couple of motives for updating, 1) address the few times that the X-10 wont communicate due to noise/suckers, 2) We plan to sell the house in the next couple years and I don’t want to deal with new buyers calling me with X-10 issues, 3) I want to learn a newer lighting technology.
I have an HAI OmniPro panel with an expansion board, an X-10 module, one serial port dedicated to communication to a Russound CAV6.6, the other serial ports are open, and many sensors/PIR/smoke/heat/thermostats/etc.   I use the HAI Andriod plugin on my phones and tablets to control, see status, etc. of the HAI OmniPro.  So I want to make sure I can see proper status of the light loads with the new technology just like I can with the current PCS X-10 solution.
So I am thinking about going RF based Z-Wave.   Since I am planning to sell, I want to keep my cost down, but at the same time I don’t want to create new usage issues.    I am looking at the GE/Jasco switches/dimmers for most of the loads, Cooper 5 button wall controllers, and Evolve LCD-1 wall controllers.
  1. Since I have the LPC’s and they are all metal, I assume they may not support mounting the Z-Wave switches/dimmers in the panel due to signal loss?  Or will putting a repeater outside and right below the LPC panel address this issue? Otherwise I will have to rip the panels out and install multiple 4 gang plastic boxes (not a big deal, I am a jack of all trades).
  2. Next concern is the lack of “Instant Status” or “HAIL” in the GE switches.  I am thinking this is non-issue because they are located in the LCP and controlled by Cooper Z-Wave wall controllers throughout the house.  I believe the HAI OmniPro and VeraLite would know status without polling based on the Cooper wall controllers sending power state request to the GE switches.  Is this a correct assessment?
    I would think the only time this would be an issue is if I have 3 or 4 ways as the GE does not HAIL and would have to be polled to determine status if turned on/off from an AUX switch.  The other solution would be to use dimmer/switch supporting HAIL (such as the Leviton RF+) for these couple of circuits, correct?

[*]I have heard that the GE does not support Association.  Do I need to I care if I am using Cooper wall controllers?
[*]I have heard the GE does not support scenes directly.  Do I need to care if I am using the HAI or VeraLite as I could build scenes in them?  We are not scene type people anyway, I have yet to ever use one that I have programmed, our house hold does not work that way, but am concerned for resale only.
[*]What other things do I need to think about or care about?
No feedback on the thread, so looks like I will do some expermentation.  So will place a order for $1k of equipment with my distributor tomororw for various switches to test before I place the big order for the house remodal.  Whatever does not work guess will go up on eBay (I already have a ton of new PSC X-10 and HAI UPB and some SimplyAutomated UPB stuff that I never used that will have to go as well, plus all the stuff I rip out which is all PCS product). 
Plan to order a MiCasaVerda VeraLite, an RS232 Zwave interface for the OmniPro, 2x GE/Jasco 15A Switches/ 600W Dimmers/ 3-Way Aux, 2x Leviton 15A Switches/ 600W Dimmers and x1 2-button wall controller-1000W switch combo (their 4 button design looks like crap), 2 x Cooper 5-button wall controllers,.2x Evolve 1-button wall controller and x1 5-button LCD-1.  Also picking up a MiCasaVerda  PTZ camera and an Aerotec Zwave 4n1 (motion,light,temp,humidty) sensor to round out other functionality that I need to look at.
You have an interesting problem to solve here, and it may not have an easy solution. First, your concern about metal enclosures is a valid one as z-wave signal is extremely sensitive to metal. So the metal boxes will be a problem. In addition, other metal objects in the house will become a possible deflector, and that includes pipes, structural beams, cars, refrigerators etc. etc. So you will be never guaranteed a flawless operation without some serious fine-tuning. The other potential issue is the continuity of the "mesh" and sufficient density of the z-wave nodes in the system. Since all the switches are in one location, their contribution to the mesh is reduced, as well as potential interference from the neighbors can affect the signal. If you do not have sufficient number of controllers, you may have to add additional nodes such as plug-in modules. The assumption that you'll always have a correct state for a z-wave node by controlling it from switches is not a valid one, it will be wise to use devices that can be polled for status. You'll also have a higher chance of success if you use the same brand for all devices and the control module. While it is possible to make different z-wave brands to play together it will not be easy or guaranteed, and you'll be unlikely to get a support from Leviton on why you cannot operate GE switches, for example. Vera can be of help in this case since it is designed to support a lot of brands, however there is no easy way to link Vera to HAI.
IMO, since you have your loads home-run it would make more sense to replace your system with a hard-wired one, like centralite elegance, and it may end up costing you the same or even less. The problem in this case will be the fact that less expensive systems use home run for the switches also, and you have them daisy-chained. Possible solution could be adding cat5 runs to some switches and reusing existing wiring for a few hard-to reach locations, or even reusing the existing switches and bridging them with loads via the HAI controller.