wire issue - changing from recessed to track lighting

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Old 07-18-08, 12:54 PM
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Question wire issue - changing from recessed to track lighting

I have a situation that no one from Lowes, Home Depot or even my "know-it-all" neighbor seems to understand, care about or has an answer to.

I am attempting to change (2) recessed lights into a track light system, but I have an issue with the wiring. I want to use one of the recessed light wires to connect to the track system and completely cover the other recessed opening. The main wiring going to the recessed fixtures only has a white and balck wire, where the black wire directly goes to the light socket and the white wire is routed into what appears to be a ground box, then to the light socket. The track system advises that there should be a green ground wire as well, but there isn't?!?!?

My home was just built in 2006 and I assume the wiring is standard, but you never know these days... Could the white wire actually be grounded at the box attached to the recessed fixture and if so, what do I connect the green ground wire from the track system to, so that it is correctly grounded?
 
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Old 07-18-08, 01:00 PM
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What type of wiring? NM (romex)? The ground box your talking about sounds like a thermal cut off, but take a picture of it, be alot easier.
 
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Old 07-18-08, 01:33 PM
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the track light system is a basic one from Home Depot, so basic wiring. The recessed lights are connected to those grey coiled tubes coming from the main house wiring system. I am not an expert, but I have changed out just about every other light fixture in the house, including putting fans up, and am totally stumped as to what to do from here with the lack of a green ground wire to connect to the track system. A buddy here at work said that the white wire would be grounded through what you said was a thermal cutoff, but I think he is doesn't know what he is talking about. I am at work, so I can't take a pic of it now.
 
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Old 07-18-08, 02:16 PM
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First of all, you cannot cover up live wires inside the wall. So you cannot cover the recessed opening without disconnecting it.

Next, you cannot connect your new fixture to the wires that run to the light socket. You must completely remove both cans. This is easier to do than you think. There are some screws inside the can that once you remove them will allow you to remove the can from the opening. Once you do this, you will expose the in-ceiling wiring (i.e., the Romex cable) that can be used to wire your new fixture.
 
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Old 07-21-08, 11:57 AM
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I was going to disconnect the cans and take them out in order to transfer to the track system. I still have the basic question of the wiring, I guess Romex is the type, from the two replies I have received. When I peeled back the connection to the can from the (romex?) wiring, there was only a white and black AND NO GREEN. So I am still unsure how to connect these wires to a track system that is advising to conenct black to black, white to white and green to green, when there is no green wire coming from the (Romex?) wiring?
 
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Old 07-21-08, 12:55 PM
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Let's start at the beginning, where is your house located? Are you in the United States? If yes, what state and city?

Do you have access above your finished ceiling to see how the existing recessed light fixtures are mounted? Since you state the house is only a couple of years old I assume it was built with the recessed lighting fixtures, correct? If yes, then please understand that most recessed lighting fixtures are not readily removable from below the finished ceiling as they are nailed in place before the drywall ceiling is installed. They CAN be removed but it will require destruction of the fixture. You will, of course, have to patch the hole that will be left in the ceiling after removing the fixture.

If you live in Chicago or New York City you probably have your wires encased in conduit. This looks like water pipe. Most other places allow the use of non-metallic sheathed cable which is abbreviated as type NM or NM-B. Romex is a brand name for this type of cable. Your lighting fixtures will have a connection box and the NM cable will enter this connection box and be clamped in place. Often the connection box is connected to the lamp proper by a short piece of flexible conduit. This is a metal spiral tube that contains the wires. If you have type NM cable it has a black plastic insulated wire, a white plastic insulated wire, a bare copper wire and maybe a red plastic insulated wire. It is common for the bare copper wire to be fastened in the connection box and NOT be visible from the inside of the recessed fixture from the living space.
 
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Old 07-21-08, 01:20 PM
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I live in Cape Coral, Florida and the recessed lights were included when the home was built. I have removed the ceiling plate that attaches to and holds the recessed can in place. It is not nailed to a supporting beam and I can turn it around to see any angle of the can from below the ceiling. It seems that I would have to remove it by either cutting the ring that attached to the ceiling plate, as the hole in the ceiling is smaller than the ring on the can. I planned on having to cover both holes, but leave a small hole in one of the openings to conncet to the track system.

As far as the wire connections go, there is a sprialed metal tube coming from the house electrical wiring that is clamped to the outside of the can and then there are only a black and white wire coming into the can. The black wire goes straight to the light socket and the white wire is routed through a box on top of the can and then down to the light socket. I do not see any other bare, red or green wires though.

Does that give you more info for any suggestions?
 
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Old 07-21-08, 01:58 PM
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I'm having trouble envisioning what you have. Do you have a digital camera that you can take several pictures of the fixture, especially with it out of the way so that I can see the "spiral tube" and how it is connected to the fixture and the "house electrical wiring"?

Pictures need to be uploaded to a photo hosting site such as photobucket.com or villagephotos.com and the URLs posted here.

I have never seen recessed lighting fixtures that were held in place by only the trim ring. Are you stating that once you remove the trim ring (the part that is visible from the living space) that the fixture can be simply pushed up into the void space above the ceiling?
 
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Old 07-21-08, 02:07 PM
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Until you have removed the can, you don't know what kind of wiring you have. I promise you that it is possible to remove the can with no ceiling damage. There is no grounding wire visible to you because the grounding wire ends above the can. You must remove the can.
 
 

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