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Old 03-14-2008, 03:32 PM   #1
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Pot lights in a drop ceiling

Ok, phase one of my basement reno project went well - planning. I now have the boxes installed, and tahnks to some good folks here, I have now finalized my wiring diagrams.

So, I arrive home with all of the supplies needed, start installation of the electrical boxes, complete that part, ready to locate and put up the lighting. Small lights - easy - install metal box to host the wiring, the eventually the ceramic light will attach. These are in rooms with no drop ceiling - so no issue. Go to the main room where there will eventually be a drop ceiling, and oh oh???????

Well - what can I say - I have never worked with pot lights before. I have never worked with a drop ceiling before. I figure that pre planning is best unless I want a real mess later to fix. So my questions to help me prevent a real mess are as follows:

1) My pots (or Cans) have bars on them that are meant to be supported by the joists up above. Of course, because I am using a drop ceiling, this is not possible. How should I install them in the drop ceiling - can i mount the supports on the pots to the drop ceiling frame? is that safe? Should I wire them to the joist above instead, or in combination with mounting them to the ceiling frame?

2) I am doing all of the wiring now, and then will be doing the drywall, with the drop ceiling going in last. What do I do with these lights between now and then - do I install them in the ceiling joists - and move them down later, do I hang them temporarily with wire from the ceiling joists, do I just put junction boxes up where the lights eventually will be?

3) No matter how I do it now, I will need excess wire left to be able to lower the lights once the project is done. I once had an issue with the electricion that inspected my work when I left too much excess wire outside the lighting and outlet boxes. Is it safe to leave some excess wire for a short period of time until the project is completed so that I can lower the lights into the drop ceiling later on?

4) Another thought, should I set up separate boxes from the built in ones contained in the cans up in the ceiling, and use them to join up the boxes at a future date? By doing this I can put regular ceramic lights up until such time I am ready to install the pots. If I do this, is it ok later remove the ceramic light, join the pots into these boxes and cap the old box up in the drop ceiling, or does the box need to be lowered to the level of the drop ceiling as well with a plate providing access? I read somewhere that any junction boxes cannot be buried in a wall or ceiling?

ugh - so many questions on one lil issue - and this project was moving along so well.

Thx for any help

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Old 03-14-2008, 04:14 PM   #2
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The brackets have notches in them to fit into the ceiling grid. Lay the can lights on top of the grid. Line up the notches up so they sit on the grid, then you can either use screws or tie wire to secure it to the grid.

As for the wiring I would mount a j box in the in the middle of three or four lights. Leave whips long enough to hit the three or four lights. Make up the j box, cover it. coil up and cap off the wires. This way when you get the grid in all you have to do is hook up the light. The hardest part is cutting those dam ceiling tiles for the cans.

I wouldn't temp mount them, just seems like more trouble than its worth. If you need light just go get a couple task lights
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:55 PM   #3
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You know, from the title of this thread, I thought for a second that you were trying to install some special sort of lighting to aid you in growing an illegal substance.

But that's just me.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
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What brand of cans are they?

1) Cut out the tiles for the lights and place them in position. Leave out at least one tile next to each light.

2) Provided there is enough room to work around the lights, place each light in it's position and secure to the grid.

3) Wire from light to light working from the open tile. I see NO need to use the "spider" method of using a j-box and running out from there. To me this seems like unnecessary work.

4) Install the trims, lamps, and remaining tiles.
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
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