I have an issue with my recessed light fixtures. The problem is that the all quit working but one of them. It is not the bulbs we changed out the bulbs the switch is on because one of the lights works. It is not the first one ( not the closest to the switch) in the group that is working either.

They did not quit working at the same time either. We have the same type of fixtures in a different room that was installed at the same time and they all work (different circuit).

Thanks SDF

  • 1
    Are you comfortable taking apart electrical fixtures? It sounds like the connections from the working light to the next light along have gone bad. You usually have to pull the whole can light down to fix this. Be sure to do research on how various cans go up (and thus come down). Mar 8, 2021 at 14:17
  • Are they LED bulbs by chance?
    – gnicko
    Mar 8, 2021 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


Each can was pig-tailed as the connections were made up. Since they failed individually, it seems that the individual wire that leads to the fixture's wiring came out of the wire nut that connects it to the incoming hot and the outgoing hot (at least at the earlier cans in the string), leaving the incoming/outgoing wiring sufficiently well connected to bring power to the one that still works.

Note that "sufficiently well connected" may still not be properly and safely connected, as the missing wire from the wire nut may mean that the nut is now loose and could allow for arcing which could start a fire.

In the box behind each can, there should be a hot (usually black), neutral (usually white) and ground (usually bare) (note: US wiring conventions, assuming cable, not conduit). At all cans except the last in the string, there will be a cable incoming from the previous can/breaker, a cable outgoing to the next can, and a set of wires that go to this can. It's likely that the "this can" wire has come out of the wire nut non-working ones prior to the working light, and that any/all of the nuts have come lose at the non-working lights downstream of the working one.

You, or your electrician, will have to pull each can and confirm that all the wiring is still properly connected.

  • 1
    Most cans also have a thermal limiter that could go bad if the fixture gets too hot. Check it with a continuity tester.
    – JACK
    Mar 8, 2021 at 14:56
  • Most useful, @JACK. I wasn't aware of that.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 8, 2021 at 14:58

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