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Installing a new light at base of stairs to lower level. Old box is a round fan type and new light is a square mounting plate. Can I make this work or is there a need to change the old junction box?

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    Can you post photos of the situation? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 25 '17 at 20:51
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Generally it's either no problem at all - there are mounting holes that match, and the box will be covered, or you need some sort of adapter to go from the holes you have to the holes you need - which MOSTLY only works if the holes in the box are further apart than the holes in the device.

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