I found some DC power line comms circuits but they seem too complex for my needs. I have 6 outside LED RGB lamps that are linked with a single 2 core cable running around the edge of my garden, it is about 20m (60 yds) from the 12V DC power supply inside garage to last lamp in the chain. Each lamp is rated at 10w so max 60w from PSU means 5A max current. The lamps are controlled (on/off, colour, fading, etc.) by a small IR remote that only has a range of about 2m (6 ft), the IR goes through the lamp lens to an internal receiver. I want to be able to control all of the lamps together from a single remote. I have tried building a larger IR remote using 24 IR diodes and a 9V battery and this works to a degree, but still does not have enough range.
As the lamp housing is large enough to hold a further small circuit I thought that maybe I could add a small IR receiver inside the lamp and send the required signals over the 2 core DC power cable. I would put an RF receiver inside the garage and drive this from an RF remote (much better range), the RF receiver would need to send the signals to the lamps over the 12v power cable which each receiver would resend as IR within the lamp, so IR range is no longer an issue. Ideally the receiver would not consist of more than a few passive components and probably at least one transistor and an IR diode. Perhaps an FSK carrier at 100KHz on the DC line, carrier present = 1 (IR on) and no carrier = 0 (IR off).
I normally work with micros so my logic skills are fine but my RF and discrete skills are not very good. I want a simple solution, assuming one exists, otherwise I might just have to go back to building the mother of all IR remotes.
Update - I like the DCC solution suggested and on checking I see that the LED lamps are in fact rated as 12V DC/AC and so must already include a rectifier within them. I will monitor the IR signal to find out what the duration of a 'message' is how long each bit is. I have some IR LEDs rated as 1.5V 20mA so if I put one of these in series with a 560R resistor across the power lines inside the lamp then it should turn on when the power lines have the correct polarity. Can I assume that the LED will be safe when the polarity is reversed or does its high reverse resistance mean the entire 12V will be across it and damage it?