Converting a ceiling light can to a light box

Old 01-21-03, 04:55 PM
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Converting a ceiling light can to a light box

I am wanting to convert an in-ceiling, recessed light can into a electrical box into which I can hook a transformer for low-voltage track lighting.

Is this a straight-forward process in which I can do all the work through the cut-out? Will an electrician be able to perform some hocus pocus that Joe Fixup (me) can't do? I'm thinking the biggest job will be patching the larger hole to accommodate the smaller fixture.

Should I give up now or continue and suffer the wrath of wife?

Sweeper Dave
Old 01-21-03, 06:14 PM
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With some work you should be able to either completely remove the existing recessed fixture can or push it up out of the way. You will almost certainly have to bend, twist and squash the old can even after you remove the nails, etc. that were used to secure it in place. Then you should be able to electrically re-feed a new ceiling box with the romex, flex or conduit that originally fed the old recessed fixture can.

You will need to install a new ceiling box where the old recess fixture was mounted and be able to do it through the hole if you don't have access from above, like in an attic. Since the box will be (or can be) used to support a light fixture it must be secured to the 2x6 ceiling joists. I would suggest using a bar hanger spread between the joists to mount the new electrical box.

Example of box with bar hanger:

Installing the bar hanger first without the box mounted to it (through the rather small hole in the drywall ceiling) is the best thing to do and then you can attach the box to the bar hanger and adjust it directly over the hole in the ceiling. (Make sure you get the height [depth] right so the box will hang just above the drywall.)

Your biggest challenge will be to repair the drywall because the existing fixture is larger in diameter than the electrical box you will be installing. Making that look good plus repainting, etc. is the pain as far as I'm concerned!

I have done this before but I used a surface mounted light fixture that was larger in diameter than the hole in the ceiling and no drywall repair or re-painting was necessary.

Old 01-21-03, 06:35 PM
P Michael
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Hey Broom,
Congratulations on eliminating at least one stupid recessed can light!
Yes it is possible. Is there attic access? This would help. Just shut the power off to the useless thing at the breaker -- you do have all your circuits labeled, don't you. Remove the piece of junk, take it outside and drive over it with a big car. Install an outlet box and the wiring following the proper procedures [helmet, life jacket, waders, bullet-proof vest, etc.]
Fixing the hole should be your biggest problem.

Old 01-21-03, 06:43 PM
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Juno makes a transformer which can be installed into one of their 6" recessed cans like a standard trim:

Maybe other similar products for your brand of light.
Old 01-22-03, 08:44 AM
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How big is the can hole? If you need to do a patch, cut the ceiling to the joist on each side and install the bar hanger and octagon box. Apply a scab on each joist to attach the patch to and mud. If the can is a 4 inch or 5 inch, use a fan brace through the existing hole, then use setting joint compound to fill in the gap around the box. The fan brace is designed to be installed through a four inch hole and dig into the joists. You do not need any other access to secure it.

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