Work-around for insufficient box size on recessed light


Old 04-19-10, 06:56 AM
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Work-around for insufficient box size on recessed light

I recently bought (from Lowe's) a pair of 3" recessed ceiling lights (low voltage, using MR16 halogen bulbs). I'm in a quandary about how to connect the fixture wires to the house wiring (14/2 and 14/3 Romex). Here is the wiring diagram:
Based on my understanding of the NEC box fill rules, the box size I need is 18 cubic inches. However, the box incorporated with the fixture is only 6 c.i. Lowe's suggested I attach an appropriately large junction box to the side of the fixture's box and make my connections in the new larger box. The problem is the fixture wires are too short (and too small of a gauge) to accommodate this set-up. Moreover, to accommodate a much larger box addition on the fixture, I’d have to significantly enlarge the hole in the ceiling (something I’d like to avoid if possible).

A friend suggested I solder wire extensions to the fixture’s existing short wires, cover the solder points with electrical tape, and house these connections in the fixture’s 6 c.i. connection box (no screw nuts involved at this point). The 14 gauge wires could then be run to a junction box (one for each light fixture) of the appropriate larger size to meet the NEC box fill requirements. If the soldering of wire extensions as presented is acceptable, would the larger junction box have to be fastened directly to the light fixture, or could I place the box a couple feet away? (The reason I ask about proximity of the junction box is because I’m trying to avoid removing more dry wall from my ceiling than I already have.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and advice.
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Old 04-19-10, 07:22 AM
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Are the wires already run or can they be re-run?

It would be much easier to run the feed wires to the switch and then just a two wire cable out to the recessed and another unswitched two wire cable to the other receptacles.
Old 04-19-10, 08:41 AM
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Are you trying to wire the new recessed fixtures to already existing cables that are / were wired to outlet-boxes for surface-type fixtures ?
Old 04-19-10, 11:44 AM
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I know this dosent help your current situation, but according to my calculation of 2 C.I. per conductor, you only need 16 CI in the first light box and 12 CI in the second light box. The actual fixture wires themselves arent counted in this calculation becuase the orginate in the box and dont leave the box .If its possible to rewire, that would be your best bet. I dont see anything wrong with mounting a bigger junction box directly to the box that comes on the light. Your method of extending the wires is fine, soldering is always the best method.
Old 04-19-10, 12:21 PM
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My project is in the middle of an existing circuit (installing two lights over a fireplace). Cable come in from existing outlet, up the wall to the left of the fireplace (where the new light switch is located), to the left recessed ceiling light, then across to the right recessed light, then down the wall on the right of the fireplace, continuing on to other outlets.

The conduit is in place and holes are drilled in ceiling joists and drywall, but the wire is not yet run. It would not be a big deal to follow a different wiring map if that is adviseable. I'm not hung up on the labor (project has become a labor of love). My biggest issue is getting the optimal set-up that is above reproach when it comes to Code.

Thanks again for your help!

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