I regret having MR16 low voltage lighting (recessed can fixtures) installed in our home remodel. It covers more than half of my house. I would like to convert to recessed fixtures that are 120V and standard size. Unfortunately, for almost all of the lights, they cannot be accessed from above (an attic space, that is). Does anyone know of any way to retrofit these cans to bypass the transformer and install a standard sized socket without having to remove the MR16 fixture, which would require tearing up the ceiling?

Additional Info: MR16 fixtures include a transformer to step the voltage down from 120V to 12V. I have attached some pictures of the fixtures before being covered up and what the ceiling looks like today. One worry I had was that the Romex coming into the transformer would not reach the position of the light if it was pulled off of the transformer and attached to a standard fixture in the original position of the MR16 light, but in the photos I took during construction it appears there is enough slack to do this (if all were wired in the ways shown in the attached photos).

Reasons for getting rid of the MR16 lights: 1. They are essentially spotlights and the widest beams will not flood the light like standard fixtures will, 2. My dimmable SATCO LED replacements for original Halogens (which were too hot) do not dim reliably and consistently and I don’t think I can find a workable solution, 3. In two cases the fixture has failed, I don’t know exactly why, but I think it has to do with incompatible dimmer switches, and I must expect failures will continue.

MR16 lighting fixture

MR16 lighting fixture

Spotlight effect of MR16 bulbs

enter image description here

  • Have you considered 120V or 12V LED track lighting? Just a thought during half time..
    – JACK
    Sep 21, 2019 at 19:50
  • No, I haven't considered track lighting at all. The pictures I showed were in the kitchen, but these lights are in both bedrooms, our family room, and both bathrooms. I don't think track lighting would work in most of these places. I've made a real mess of it. Sep 21, 2019 at 23:17
  • You have to remove the ceiling. However, Amazon have wide angled ones - 60deg. Have you tried one. The dimmer is a separate issue and you may be correct in the cause of failure. Feb 5 at 11:21

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately the lighting layout is pretty bad so getting a new light would not help.

Your best option here is to actually redo the entire lighting layout and use the type of light you're happy with. Have an electrician try to reuse the existing wires if possible and then get a professional painter to patch and paint.

  • 1
    Thanks, Kris. I think maybe I should have a lighting specialist, if such a beast exists, come out to my home and take a good hard look at it. In this case, actually seeing what it looks like is pretty important. Sep 21, 2019 at 23:23
  • @GregBradley as a rule of thumb when I do lighting, the lights are around 40-60iin. apart. Ideally 48in. is my goal. Off of walls, cabinets or similar is around 30-36in unless the intentions are to light the wall or art. Then it is around 18-24in but that is totally relative to the size of the art, height of the ceiling, and crown if any. I'd recommend 120V recessed lights 5in. or similar.
    – Kris
    Sep 22, 2019 at 12:40
  • @GregBradley I think in the long run you will be happier to get the lights right. Trying to hack what's there can become just as costly and not achieve what you should be getting. A professional electrician could do the job in a couple of days and patch and painting would take 2 or 3 days I think.
    – Kris
    Sep 22, 2019 at 12:45

I’m shocked at all these amateurs giving professional advices. Any experienced electrician would tell you it’s easy to remove 3 screws, pull can down and access wiring. First turn off power at the breaker, of course. Remove transformer wires from high voltage side, or cut them if hard to get to them and splice your new LED trim or GU10, or whatever wires you want, put can back and voila! Takes me 2 minutes for easy ones, 10-15 minutes for the tough ones.

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