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I have an old ceiling fixture box, the kind with the stud/hickey in the center that looks like this:

enter image description here

I want to add a fixture to this box (currently it's unused.) I also want to use a SmartHome Insteon relay to control the fixture:

enter image description here

Unfortunately, the relay is too big to fit in the box due to the stud and a large amount of ancient wiring crowding it.

I would like to figure out how to extend this box in a way that is aesthetically pleasing so I can use the relay. I am aware of box extenders like this:

enter image description here

but that would not look great since the extender will be visible between the ceiling and the fixture.

Replacing the box is not an option since it's embedded in a concrete ceiling.

  • Not sure if it makes a difference, but Insteon makes a much smaller version called the Micro on-off module that is better suited to installing in junction boxes like yours. Depending on existing space, it may even fit without modification. – gregmac Feb 27 '15 at 18:45
  • @gregmac, thanks for that, but I don't think it will work for my application. I'm dealing with a failed switch loop (old aluminum wiring) which is why I need the radio-controlled relay. Replacing the wiring is not practical at this point because it's buried in solid plaster and brick. – friedo Feb 27 '15 at 19:25
  • That is a dual-band module.. In fact, I'm fairly certain the only practical difference is the load rating (15A vs 20A). Full manual. You can actually even wire a normal SPST switch to the "sense" wires on this thing (provided you have the wiring to do this) and it'll actually function as a 3-way switch. I do this with my kitchen range hood: it's controlled via an Insteon keypad, or via the switch on the hood itself. (The "on" and "off" labels on the hood switch are no longer meaingful, but that's only confusing the first time) – gregmac Feb 27 '15 at 19:42
  • Wow, thanks. I think this guy might actually fit. I'll pick one up and see. If not, I've got a reasonable backup plan. Thanks for the link! – friedo Feb 27 '15 at 19:48
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Add hickeys until you can hang a box like this from it. Grind off the tabs if you don't like them, paint it to match the ceiling. You will probably need a bushing to make the connection from the last hickey to the new box.

enter image description here

Having pulled the wires through the hickeys, install the relay. Add a cross bar to hang more hickeys, from which you hang the light. Without a 'gap' in the hickeys, you've nowhere to put the relay.

enter image description here

Take the relay with you to the store, find a box and add a hickey; check if it will still fit a cross bar with another hickey sticking into it, with the relay inside, and still have room for wires coming from both hickeys.

I would endeavor to use that company's switches instead of the relay you can't fit, however I am not familiar with them or if they would fit your setup.

The relay doesn't need to be in that box; it just needs the wires... somehow.

  • I wonder if anyone makes a giant split hickey for exactly this purpose.... – Mazura Feb 27 '15 at 2:46
  • thanks, I think this kind of box will work. I actually don't need the hickey for the fixture, it can be hung with a crossbar, so I should have plenty of room. Do you have a model number/manufacturer for that box? – friedo Feb 27 '15 at 3:16
  • Also, how would I secure the top of that kind of box to the hickey? Is there a connector that will thread into the top hole? – friedo Feb 27 '15 at 3:20
  • No sry, its a pic stole from google that leads back to SE with a dead link ;p They should be available locally, if not you'd best find your own: I just saw them anywhere from $10-$40. If you're very lucky it will thread right on, if not you need a bushing insert. – Mazura Feb 27 '15 at 3:26
  • Thanks for the ideas. I'll have a look at the HD tomorrow; I may end up just going for a round metal box and painting it if I can figure out a way to secure it. – friedo Feb 27 '15 at 3:28

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