The day we had a power outage, we also noticed that one bank of recessed lights stopped working. (Assuming they are related, but can't be 100% sure.) The lights are on a dimmer switch. I confirmed power at the switch, and that the switch is working (by swapping in another switch).

My next thought was to check the power and connections at the light closest to the switch. Assuming that makes sense, I can't figure out how to undo the clips that would allow me to slide the housing and junction box out (photo below). I've watched plenty of videos on how to engage the clips, but not undo them. I've tried using needle nosed pliers in the circular hole and pulling with quite a bit of force down and in, but so far it's just bent the black clip and silver housing. In case it's useful, the lights are L7XR Lithonia. These lights are between floors, so I have no access from above.

Thoughts are appreciated!

recessed light housing clip

UPDATE: As one more last-ditch test, I swapped out the dimmer for a simple switch, and lo and behold, the lights turned on! The mystery is that I know the dimmer is fine because it works on a separate set of lights (and before that it was functioning fine for 3+ years on the lights in question). I'm okay with just using the simple switch, but I am curious about what could be the cause of what I'm seeing. Any more thoughts?

  • 1
    Power you can check by just removing the bulb and putting a multimeter on the center and side connectors in the socket.
    – bib
    Dec 12, 2015 at 22:10
  • Can you post the model number of the dimmer? Also, are you using incandescent, CFL, or LED bulbs in a) the fixture with issues and b) the known-good fixture you're testing the dimmer with? Dec 15, 2015 at 5:08

2 Answers 2


If the joints were made up properly in the junction box then there is nothing much to do by removing the fixture. If the fixtures have been working for years is not very likely a wire joint has suddenly failed.

More likely you have a bad connection on the switch or need to recheck your wiring coming to the switch.

Check for power coming to and leaving the switch and power at the light.

  • Agreed that it seemed unlikely, but (at the time) that was the only other idea I had. Until I discovered that a simple switch worked (update above). Still confused on why the simple switch works while the dimmer doesn't...
    – Andrew
    Dec 15, 2015 at 4:48

before you remove the lights, you should check and see if you have power. you can get an e26 pigtail you can just thread into the base and check voltage on the pigtail wires. after that, if you still need to remove them, you have to pull down on the little circular hole in the clip (support the drywall when you do it). then the spring clip pops out into the can and you can arc it down and towards the center. there are normally 4, and the last one is the hardest to get out without breaking the drywall.

  • I confirmed that the lights did not have power with the dimmer, but then I discovered they did get power with a spare switch I had laying around. (See update above...) So thankfully did not have to deal with the spring clips at all...
    – Andrew
    Dec 15, 2015 at 4:45

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