I am looking to install 3-inch recessed lighting in room under living areas. I have the ceiling down so I am using a new-work kit with rails and a pan. The lights are sold as remodeling and the rest of the parts are sold separately.

So access to the junction with these is gained by dropping the light out of it's clips and pulling the junction through the pan. This is simple enough when there are no lines running into the box. But the box just barely fits through the hole in the pan. Once I put a clamp into one of the knockouts and run a NM-2 cable or two into it, it's nearly impossible to get out. And when I manage it, I worry that the edge of the hole on the pan is damaging the cable. In one of these, I need to run more lines (within the limits stated on the box) and at that point, there's no way it's coming through that pan.

Am I missing something? I can't be the only person to ever have this issue. The only solution I can think of at this point is to cut a slot in each of the pans to allow for the clamp and wire to come down far enough that I can rotate the box of out the hole. For the one junction with more lines, I figure I'll have to dig the remodel clamps out of the trash and wait for the drywall to go up and cut the hole as large as possible. Are there flush clamps that will not protude from the the knockouts or something?

UPDATE: I went by the neighborhood hardware store and got some plastic push-through 'clamps'. They are almost flush with the outside of the box. I'm hoping this will resolve my issue for at least the simple configurations.

2 Answers 2


The plastic push-in connectors did the trick. I won't say it's super simple to get the box in and out of the pan but it definitely eliminated the issue where the wires were getting jammed against the hole by the clamps.


Your idea of cutting it in half probably would work well. Though I would try completely removing it once the ceiling goes up.

You might have to get creative because the new construction accessory adapters are meant to be secured to the rafters. Maybe some double-face tape?

You might not even need to use the adapters. Take pictures and have someone hold a measuring tape so you can reference back exactly once the ceiling goes up.

  • I hadn't thought of cutting it in half. I was just going to 'notch' the hole in the pan so there's some wiggle room for the wires. The pan slides on the bars which I screwed into the rafters. In theory if it were split in half, I would be able to 'open' the hole in order to pull it down. The tabs that hold it together would push it apart through. I'd have to rig up some sort of lock that I could get at through the hole in the ceiling. Would have been a great feature of the product.
    – JimmyJames
    Nov 10, 2015 at 21:32
  • @JimmyJames, the only required components to keep the light from fallen down are the three spring clips that are inside the can. You can easily push them out of the way or pull them down, whichever is easier, to remove the can if needed. The new construction adapter is required by some authorities if there is accessible attic above. But really isn't required if you can simply cut the hole and fish out the wire after the ceiling is installed.
    – Kris
    Nov 10, 2015 at 21:47
  • OK. I figured it was better to have the adapter. I'm having someone else do the ceiling so I figured I'd put it in the right place. It's probably easier to cut the holes after it's up, as long as I know where the joists are. Hopefully I can find all the sping clamps. Thanks for the help.
    – JimmyJames
    Nov 10, 2015 at 21:56
  • @JimmyJames, yes, either way it will be hard to work on a 3" light ( there is little room for error ). Have you given any thought to using 4" lights?
    – Kris
    Nov 10, 2015 at 21:59
  • That's a spousal concern so not really. The kits say you can have a hole up to 3 and 3/4. That extra 3/4 of an inch makes a huge difference in getting that box through. Thanks again.
    – JimmyJames
    Nov 10, 2015 at 22:26

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