enter image description hereI am attempting to replace a ceiling fixture with a recessed light. I removed the old fixture and found 3 cables with wires:

  1. ⁠Red, black, white, ground
  2. ⁠Black, white, ground
  3. ⁠Black, white, ground

#1 red and white is what was connected to the fixture itself. #1 black and ground were capped together with #2 and #3.

I disconnected everything and discovered the rest of my kitchen ceiling lights and my living room ceiling lights stopped working. Joining 2 and 3 together turned the living room back on and then adding in everything except red from 1 did the rest of the kitchen.

So it seems this light was serving as some sort of junction for all these other lights.

My understanding is this is too many wires to junction in the single box of my new recessed light. And I’m having trouble finding a housing that will accommodate this. Would it be appropriate to put an actual junction box in the ceiling then run a new cable for this light?

Any advice on a proper fix is appreciated, thanks!

  • 1
    You're OK with having a blank cover in your ceiling where the junction box is, right? Sep 26 at 3:55
  • No I’m trying to put a new light in this spot. Sounds like I can put the box on a joist and run a new wire out to the light.
    – Ben
    Sep 26 at 11:53
  • According to electrical code connection should have access. The connection box can not be hidden.
    – user263983
    Sep 26 at 15:16
  • "My understanding is this is too many wires to junction in the single box" there are box fill calculators. Do the math, you might be fine. Oct 26 at 5:48

It was very common practice back in the day to use ceiling boxes as junction boxes for entire circuits. All the black wires should remain connected together as they are different branches going to different receptacles and switches. One of those black wires goes down the cable with the red wire to feed a switch. The red wire is the switch leg coming back. So the black wires just get tucked away and have nothing to do with the light. The light connects to the red and white wires.

You can simply cut out around the box to the size of the recessed fixture and attached the box to the side of the ceiling joists and run a new cable from that box to the led fixtures junction box. Then put a blank octogon cover on the old box.

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