Two-part question:

First, are the can-less, low-profile LED downlights (e.g. HALO HLB Lite 4" LED) suitable for new construction, or only for remodels? I'm getting confused about the Code rules for junction box accessibility/installation.

Second, if these are suitable for new construction, how should they be installed? Most of the online videos and even the product instructions seem to be geared towards the remodel customer. But what will my inspector be looking for before I drywall my ceiling? I know there are joist brackets for some of these products to which one can attach the light's j-box. Are these necessary? What Code(s) do I need to be aware of?

My project: this is an unfinished basement remodel in Seattle, USA. There are no wall or ceiling coverings yet.

2 Answers 2


It's pretty straightforward. These lights require a junction box, but they provide it. The junction box includes the driver for the LEDs. The spur cable going from the "j-box" to the LED itself is low voltage DC.

You can see the j-box on the right here, and there's a closeup showing the color temperature switch.

enter image description here

The "j-box" and LED head are mates; you can swap LEDs among J-boxes, but cannot just throw the "j-box" in the trash and connect 120VAC straight into the LED cable. Won't work.

You are meant to be able to access this junction box by unmounting it (if your jurisdiction requires mounting it) and pulling the "j-box" down through the LED hole so you can get your hands on the wires. Weird, but shrug UL approved it that way.

  • This is ultimately what I found from Googling, too: that the j-box is "accessible" because you can take the fixture off to access it. Anyone know if there is specific code related to this installation, or whether this is simply a grey area that is interpreted as acceptable for lack of other information? Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 1:34
  • The first ones did not come with the box , this allows them to be used anywhere.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 1:55

I have major issues with the driver box being installed where not accessible. If the driver boxes are installed (screwed to joists) where attic access is available, I'm OK with that. But on multi story homes and the driver box is attached to a joist with no access other than thru the 4" opening for the luminare itself, that isn't "access" in my mind. I've been helping wire my son's house and specifically asked the inspector about this and he said it was "accessable" (certainly not "readily accessable"), but I see no way to work on the driver box via a 4" opening should that be required. Here is a link to an approach that I think is a good idea: yeah, it's a rework/retrofit, but at least you can get to the driver box if needed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgmSukybivo

While the vid is again a rework install, it highlights the importance of access. The best way to allow for continued access to the driver units is to not attach them to a joist or other framing member and not staple the cables closely. Rather to let them have enough slack in the connecting wiring to allow them to be pulled thru the 4" opening for service. I would suppose there must be some code acceptable way to support them and asso wiring during sheetrock and insulation installation. I know there are code requirements for securing cables next to a jbox, but I don't now how much this applies here Wish I knew more, but these are pretty new devices and code may not have caught up yet.

  • 2
    Can you summarize the YT video you posted a link to? That'd help keep this post useful if the YT link died for whatever reason Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 1:14
  • 1
    Edit that into your answer, and you'll be golden :) Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 3:14

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