Swapping out recessed 2-pin fixture?

Old 10-05-15, 08:37 PM
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Swapping out recessed 2-pin fixture?

So my wife smells some kind of burning smell in the bathroom, and concludes the smell is coming from this 2-pin light. So I remove the bulb and the surrounding metal can thingy.

The bulb is very hot. Don't know if that's the source of the burning smell or not, but we've always hated this stupid light anyway because it flickers for several seconds, sometimes as many as 10, before finally turning on. So we decide it needs to be replaced with a different kind of fixture.

Once I removed the can thingy then this plug was dangling by two wires:

Now I was hoping that this would be as simple as cutting those two wires and connecting them to some new kind of socket, like this one:

Then I'd be able to just use normal light bulbs. Seems simple enough. Black to black, white to white. Done. But because electricity scares me and I clearly don't know what I'm doing, I figured it best to check with you guys first to make sure I'm ok doing this.

One thing that worries me is that if I trace the black and white wires up into the ceiling, I find this metal box:

After I saw that, I started worrying that perhaps that box somehow regulated the electricity and provided just the right amount to work with that stupid 2-pin light, and if I wired up a different kind of light, it would cause problems.

In the meantime, my wife came home from Lowe's with this thing, and told me just to climb in the attic and install it, which I'd rather not do unless it's my only option:

So will the simple fix work or do I need to climb up and nail this monstrosity to the rafters?
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Old 10-05-15, 08:57 PM
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You are in luck. It looks like your old fixture is a Halo type and so is your new one. If you look at your new fixture you'll see the junction box covers are spring loaded. Make sure the power is off... reach up and unsnap the ballast plate, disconnect the wires and remove it.

You new can will fit the same ring and use the three screws. You can run the metal flex line right into your existing junction box, connect the wires, snap the blank on and then fasten the new can with the three screws.
Old 10-05-15, 11:34 PM
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That's good news. Thank you. I flipped the new fixture and it does indeed say HALO right on it. At first I thought it was short for halogen, since the socket looks like that's the type of bulb I'd put in there, but now I'm guessing it's just the name they gave to circular recessed lighting fixtures?

I also have another question. Are the ballast and the junction box the same thing? And what do you mean by "snap the blank on"?

Also, in looking at the new box thingy that i have to hook up, do I pop out the circles with a flathead or somehow use these black plastic caps to make my connections?
Old 10-06-15, 08:07 AM
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Sorry, you are in California and the state energy code mandates that you use something other than the "standard" incandescent bulb. To be legal you may not replace that fixture with one that accepts standard screw-in incandescent bulbs.
Old 10-06-15, 08:33 AM
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Halo is a brand of lighting fixture.

Those black pieces are cable clamps for NM cables. They hold the cable to the junction box.

The wiring compartment is accessible by removing the flat cover plate held by the spring type clip,
Old 10-06-15, 08:53 AM
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A few reasons for the lamp getting superhot:
1. One of the pins is making a loose connection in the matching socket hole,
2. The lamp has degenerated due to age in a manner that it is drawing more current than it should,
3. The ballast has degenerated due to age or overheating in a manner that more current is flowing than should flow,
4. The starter (usually a subcomponent in the lamp base but could also be a stand-alone component) is not shutting off the filaments in the ends of the lamp tube. This also leads to longer starting times.
5. The fixture has more ceiling insulation stuffed around its outside than it is rated for.

The ballast and junction box are two different things. The junction box should be straightforward, it looks somewhat like a box for a wall receptacle or wall switch.

The ballast is a necessary electronic or electromagnetic component for fluorescent lamps and also sodium lamps and metal halide (not to be confused with tungsten halogen) lamps. It is wired in series with the lamp socket. It can have a variety of shapes one of which is somewhat the same shape as a cigarette pack. Incidentally the presence of the ballast helps avoid juy-rigging (boot-jacking? jack-legging? boot-legging?) an incandescent lamp in a fixture or in a state where that may not be used.

Last edited by AllanJ; 10-06-15 at 09:33 AM.
Old 10-13-15, 03:29 PM
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California won't allow screw shells fixtures??? They are NUTS! Most of the new tech bulbs are screw shell.
Old 10-13-15, 10:21 PM
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The California state energy code does not allow any fixture in new construction to be able to use a "standard" Edison style screw base because they have decided that those "old technology" bulbs use too much electricity. I do not know when this law went into effect but it was at least three years ago, maybe more.

If the house in question was built after the law went into effect then it would be unlawful to retrofit an Edison style screw base fixture.

The "new tech" bulbs that you refer to are for retrofitting older fixtures that have the Edison screw base.

Same thing with automobile gasoline tank fill pipes having the small opening that only a non-leaded nozzle will fit.

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