I want to replace my 40 year old spot light cans with LED lighting. My issue: the cans are 6 inch and not very deep. They are bell shaped and lack the tension spring clips which wouldn't work anyway as the cans slope inward like a bell. So I will use the shallow mount lights instead with the cans removed. What remains is the rest of the can assembly which has a junction box with a flexible metal cable (BX?) running the bulb socket. I will remove the bulb socket. It only has black and white wires and no ground. May I screw the ground to the LED junction box and does the flexible metal cable act as a ground? I didn't look real closely at the junction box but could see bare copper wires which I assume are ground wires. I do have attic access but want to do this quickly, cheaply and safe.

  • "quickly, cheaply and safe" - pick 2 out of 3 :-) But seriously, this is likely quite doable. The armor of flexible cable is, as I understand it, not usually a valid ground by itself, though it does provide physical protection. Pictures of existing junction boxes/cans/wiring would help. Also make sure to get good quality LED fixtures - the junk will save a few $ but be far more likely to need replacement in a year vs. the good stuff that should last many years. Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 16:08
  • Pictures would help. In my experience the "sloping inwards like a bell" part is usually a removable insert in a cylindrical can, but yours might be different. If the junction box has ground wires you should be able to connect the LED ground wire to those ground wires, or screw it to the box. Most replacement lights have a bulb-socket-to-fixture adapter saving the bother of cutting off the socket for the power wires. It's faster.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 16:12
  • I am new to the site and hope i am adding a comment in the appropriate place. Yes the screw in replacement LED would be my 1st choice however these wont work because the shallow bell shaped can wont allow the use of the V shaped tension springs. Also they dont have the c clips which i did obtain and tried this option. No good so i have to remove the can housing. I will try to upload photos but i am not too swift in tech related sharing stuff. Thanks
    – richard
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 23:31
  • Can you post photos of the situation please? Is there a reason the can housings can't be removed? Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 0:21

1 Answer 1


the equipment grounding conductor terminates inside the junction box attached to the can Bracket/housing.

the "Armored cable" just delivers the Hot and Neutral to the light socket.

there are, available on the market, LED retro fit lights for this situation.

here is a search for "LED retro fit" https://www.homedepot.com/s/led%2520retro%2520fit?NCNI-5

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