I bought a new light fixture to go in this space, and it connects the old fashioned way (a black, a white, and a ground wire) to the regular electrical boxes I'm used to seeing. but when I pulled down the existing fixture this is what i found.
I know how to install an electrical box, but I haven't seen these connections before so I'm not sure how to proceed.

This is the best view I can get of the silver box since this is as far as it will come down. I can try to get up there and probe some more further but wanted to get some help understanding the situation a little better first.

EDIT / UPDATE: i stuck my camera up there to get a better view of the situation. i have no idea why the guy who did this moved the hole from where the original box was, but looks like he did several things he shouldn't have (the ground wires prob came disconnected while i was messing with things but who knows). Now i have two problems that may make this more trouble than it's worth:

  1. I cant get both my hands up here well enough to install a proper junction box (and access is otherwise difficult since i have a second floor rather than an attic above me)
  2. The hole in the wood ceiling is bigger (~5" round) than a standard ceiling electrical box for lights (~4" round), so that would not be straightforward to install either.

Would love suggestions but sadly may have to give up on this.


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  • 1
    The attic looks like it's too small to crawl around, but I may as well ask ... is there an access hatch where you could climb up and crawl around up there? Or, if not, another probably useless question ... do you have any spare of the ceiling boards?
    – jay613
    Jun 7, 2023 at 13:09
  • @jay613 sadly it's a second floor overhead rather than an attic :-/. also sadly i don't have any spare boards, tho i imagine i could get one. i think the ultimate solution would indeed be just cutting a new hole in the original spot and then repairing the other hole as best i can
    – aknodt
    Jun 7, 2023 at 13:19
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    If you need to cover a hole, given the knotty wood theme, you could cover it with a wood-like chandelier canopy and hang some wood chimes or other decoration from it. Make it look intentional.
    – jay613
    Jun 7, 2023 at 13:32
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    IDK if you have the working space, but if this was me, I'd have a go at putting a 2x4 or other appropriate lumber across the bottom of the truss, to the next truss. Fasten in place as best you can (even if only glue), and use that to support your new e-box and/or fixture. Does your new light fixture cover the existing hole in the ceiling paneling?
    – Huesmann
    Jun 7, 2023 at 13:50
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    The previous hack DIY does you no favors here. Some people shouldn't be let near Pinterest.
    – KMJ
    Jun 7, 2023 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


That's a canless recessed light, as the other answer says. The box up there is the junction box which has the normal power feed wire going into and potentially out of it. You'll need to get access to it so that you can add a box for your new light. It's possible that the wires are too short, which could mean needing to run new wire back to wherever the next junction point is.

To help you understand it, here is a long blog entry with pictures of an installation. Don't follow these instructions, as they appear to make mistakes. This is purely for a visual reference. I've included the most relevant picture below.

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  • 2
    The blog entry shows the installer putting cable through a hole (Knock out) without any insulator or strain relief...a definite no-no. Don't always rely on internet info from non professionals to show you the correct way to do things.
    – RMDman
    Jun 7, 2023 at 0:23
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    I missed that - I provided the reference so it was visible in context. I'll add the caveat.
    – KMJ
    Jun 7, 2023 at 3:29
  • @KMJ thank you so much - that blog page was super helpful!! editing my question with another photo / follow up re adding a junction box and finding the right electrical box. i sadly think i may have to abandon this project now for being more trouble than it's worth :-(
    – aknodt
    Jun 7, 2023 at 12:02
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    It would be helpful to include a couple of pics from the linked site. Otherwise, when the page/site disappears, it's of no use in this answer.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 7, 2023 at 12:41
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    Good point, will do.
    – KMJ
    Jun 7, 2023 at 14:42

Many of the newer LED lights come with a box similar to what you have. They get wired and left lose in the ceiling area. The goof was the wire feeding the lamp is to short. If it were me I would replace the existing wire if reasonably possible.

From your picture you may have access from the other side of the wall.

It is also possible there is no electronics in that box and it is just a junction point. If the new is the same you can simply replace the light using the old junction box.

  • thank you so much! editing my question with another photo / follow up re adding a junction box and finding the right electrical box in case you have any further ideas!
    – aknodt
    Jun 7, 2023 at 12:11

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