A tenant managed to rip out the socket threads from a recessed lighting can while trying to remove the light bulb. Pictures of the fixture and the existing socket below.

Existing Fixture

Socket (snapped off threads)

Socket (wiring)

I would like to just replace the socket, and I currently have the attached as a potential replacement.

Potential replacement

If I take off the nipple, is it possible and safe to use this as a replacement or do I need to try to find an exact match? In some initial shopping/searching, I have not been able to find an exact replacement.

  • 2
    "Tenant" indicates rental. If you're in the US, as a landlord, you're not allowed to do electrical work on a property you rent out to others.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 15:05
  • I went ahead and inlined the images. Where have you looked for parts? My local lighting store has a huge selection of lighting repair parts.
    – KMJ
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 15:44
  • It is not clear from your photos what if anything is broken? There is a spring clip, looks like it's still attached to the socket, and looks like it should fit into the long slot in the L bracket on the can. If some part of that is damaged, it would help if your photos showed what's left to work with. Otherwise why can't you just pop it back in?
    – jay613
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 17:08
  • 2
    @jay613 The threads are missing from inside the socket.
    – gnicko
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


To use your replacement socket you need to rig up a way to attach it to the can without exposing its bulky exposed electrical contacts to the can or to the parts you use to attach it. I can think of some hacky ways to achieve that but I'm embarrassed to describe them here, and you don't want hacky band-aids up in a light can in your ceiling, do you?

Better alternatives:

  1. Find an exact replacement, or find one that has pre-attached wires with recessed contacts, like the old one, but also a threaded rod attachment. Then you can drill the spring clip off the old socket and attach it to the new socket with a short threaded rod.
  2. Get a pancake retrofit LED light engine, attach it to the can with a simple nut and bolt and a couple of wire nuts. Make sure to get a UL-listed engine and be aware their actual size is usually bigger than their nominal one so double check the fit.

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