Rewiring a 6" recessed can

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-18-12, 05:58 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 126
Rewiring a 6" recessed can

Hello all

I went to change the bulb on a 6"? recessed light (the outer diameter of the can measures 7") and noticed that the wiring which looks like cloth (circa late 60's) is not only discolored but I can see copper in places

The unit is plastered into the ceiling so removing may prove to be extremely difficult without substantial rework, which I am trying to avoid. I was wondering if it would be acceptable to rewire with thhn?

I have access to the attic and can cut the wires from the socket, and use them to pull the new wires into the old box. I figure any modern wiring has got to be better than what I have now!

Question #2 - The baffle on this can is missing. I bought a Commercial Electric brand because it not only fit and hid the hole, but it was the only model in stock that had the spring steel type clips to hold it in place, all the other models had coil springs.

Is there anything wrong with using this type inside an old can? I am concerned with overheating, although the old can inside said something about 150w PAR38?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-18-12, 06:02 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
That new trim should be fine. If the bare wires are at the lampholder, you should be able to drop that out and either replace or repair it.
 
  #3  
Old 12-18-12, 06:05 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 126
They are but the insulation looks pretty bad so I am thinking of replacing the entire run of wire from lampholder to termination. I don't want to have to do this again in this lifetime or to have to second guess work I have done. I also didn't think it would be allowed to have wire nuts inside the can ;-)

Either way, original question still stands - Can I replace the wire with THHN or do I need to find a higher service temp. wire?
 
  #4  
Old 12-18-12, 06:53 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,430
THHN is rated for 90c or 194f maximum and should be ok for that use.
 
  #5  
Old 12-18-12, 07:09 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 126
Thanks guys :-)

Let me show you what I am looking at. Not so sure that I would be able to pull that can down without a lot of plaster damage, but it would be great if I could, a lot easier to rewire from down here than up there! What is holding this can up? The mounting tab in the T shaped slot is against a framing member, but the unit must have been in before the plastering... Is this something that I could remove by pulling it down or is there more to it?



 
  #6  
Old 12-18-12, 09:19 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Let me show you what I am looking at. Not so sure that I would be able to pull that can down without a lot of plaster damage, but it would be great if I could, a lot easier to rewire from down here than up there! What is holding this can up?
I wasn't suggesting that you remove the housing. You'd already said that that would be difficult. I'm suggesting that you remove the lampholder from the housing.

Your pictures don't show it, but most recessed fixtures have a mechanism for raising and lowering the height of the lampholder, and taking that apart will release the lampholder and allow it to be removed from the housing. Regardless of the adjuster, this light was assembled from separate parts and there is some way to take it apart.

The mounting tab in the T shaped slot is against a framing member, but the unit must have been in before the plastering... Is this something that I could remove by pulling it down or is there more to it?
No, you can't remove the housing from the ceiling, nor the lampholder assembly from the housing, by simply pulling down. If you could, we might not be able to trust the fixture to stay in the ceiling! You need to figure out how the lampholder assembly is mounted in the housing and reverse that.
 
  #7  
Old 12-18-12, 10:13 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,430
With the age of that fixture I'd expect it to be a Halo fixture. I've never seen a non removable recessed fixture before. There should have been three short screws with 1/4" hex heads holding that can in.

If you look up into the can at the metal plate that the socket is in......you should see a wingnut holding that socket plate to the can.


ON EDIT:
That is an old work can. There should be three of those slots in the can. The other two we can't see should have metal clips that slide to allow the can to come out.
 
Attached Images  
  #8  
Old 12-19-12, 03:27 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,979
By code, the j-boxes of recessed cans are required to be accessible. The center housing of the can should be able to come down either by removing some short 1/4" hex head screws from the center, or by pulling in the spring tabs as shown in the picture from PJmax.

Your can appears that it might be a "new construction" can and a screw would have been in the T slot. It also appears that the taper/plaster was a bit over zealous and taped in the can. You should be able to take a utility knife and carefully cut the drywall mud around the can to free it up. The can housing is only about 1/32" thick so it shouldn't take much.

If you so have spring clips in the can, there is about a 1/4"" flange around the bottom that sits on the ceiling. You will have to, again, cut the mud to free the can up.

A good idea is to go back to the store and look at a remodel, and new construction can, to get an idea of what they look like, and how they work.
 
  #9  
Old 12-19-12, 05:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 126
Thanks guys! I had already removed the shield and lamp holder to look at them. The wires were soldered directly to the back of the lamp holder, so at minimum I will pickup a new lamp holder with screws for ease of wiring.

I guess then to use a screw driver and pry the spring tab up into the t slot. I have installed recessed lights before, but I am not familiar with these types. The ones I have installed before were full framed and I never really paid attention to the mounting of the central can. But Tolyn raises a great point with the accessibility factor!
 
  #10  
Old 12-19-12, 10:55 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 126
Thanks

All done!

The old socket had the wires riveted on, it looked soldered until I clipped them and had it back on the ground. At first I was just going to get a replacement socket and use some wire I had on hand, as I was looking for some parts, holding the socket by the wires, one of the wires just gave out and the socket smashed against the floor! Those wires really were on their last legs.

I couldn't find what I needed and was worried about the heat rating on the wire so I ended up buying a 6" HALO and gutting it for the wiring. Now my repair is better than the original with a thermal overload The only thing I hated doing was drilling a small hole in the can to install a small machine screw to hold the thermal overload device in place, used a lock washer as well.

Thanks again for the advice on removal, I really never had to repair one before so I never looked at them closely. Now that I have I remember adjusting one with three screws to come lower where a ceiling was furred down.





 
  #11  
Old 12-19-12, 11:25 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,632
Looks good. Your post may help some future member. Thanks for letting us know how it came out.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'