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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have 2 pendant lights hanging over the island in our kitchen, as you can see in the attached picture, and I’d like to add a 3rd. When we bought this house about 3 years ago, there were 2 recessed lights where the 2 pendants are. I bought conversion kits which attach to the recessed light cans and hold the pendants with the small medallions at the ceiling.

The location of one of the lights is OK, bit the other needs to be relocated further towards the other end of the island, and I’d like to have the new 3rd one centered between the 2.

My concern is with the electrical wiring. I have no desire to rip out the existing cans, replace & patch sheetrock, etc., so my plan is to make a long rectangular shallow box thing to mount the pendants on. I’d make it with a sort of frame that would attach to the ceiling, such that the long rectangular part, probably 1/4” plywood would have a space of maybe 1/2” between it & the ceiling for the romex to run to each pendant light. The construction would be similar to that of a flat panel cabinet door, if that helps describe it.

I understand that you’re not supposed to “bury” an electrical box in a wall or other inaccessible space. What I’m wondering is if I connect to the existing romex in one of the cans in order to power the boxes which will hold the 3 lights, will that can then be considered “buried” & as such not be allowed?

I should mention that there is no access above the recessed lights.

I hope that all of the above makes sense; any comments, suggestions, etc., would be appreciated!
 

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You state "my plan is to make a long rectangular shallow box thing to mount the pendants on. I’d make it with a sort of frame that would attach to the ceiling."

If you make the "frame" with a screw on cover on which you attach the three light bases, affix the frame to the ceiling and then screw on the cover - making the final connection of the wiring behind the "cover" to the house wiring as you do so - all connections behind the cover will still be accessible, as long as the screws holding the cover are left so that they can be accessed and removed at any time.

It may be easier to fit this if you install an outlet in place of one of the existing connections and wire the lights on the "cover" to plug into the outlet just before you screw on the cover. A "flat" plug or a recessed outlet may assist in reducing the depth required if you take that approach.

The counter-sunk screw heads will be seen. This may not matter, if they are placed evenly and neatly, and they could be painted.
If necessary, you could use plastic push on covers for the screw heads.
 

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The NEC requires j-boxes to be "accessible" which is further defined as without having to remove any part of the building. I would cut an opening for any hidden j-box and put an approved electrical plate on it. I would install an extension ring to bring the box face flush with the finished enclosure.
 

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The NEC requires j-boxes to be "accessible" which is further defined as without having to remove any part of the building. I would cut an opening for any hidden j-box and put an approved electrical plate on it. I would install an extension ring to bring the box face flush with the finished enclosure.
If one has a j-box, with an approved electrical cover plate, inside another "box" with a removable lid/cover, which is held on by accessible screws, the connections inside the j-box are accessible. It just takes a bit longer to access them - and recover them - and it is probable that the same screwdriver would be used to remove and replace all of the screws involved.

The box concerned would not be part of a building. It would be a fitting (or an accessory), just as much as the "box" of a fluorescent tube fitting would be if it were covering a j-box.
 

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If one has a j-box, with an approved electrical cover plate, inside another "box" with a removable lid/cover, which is held on by accessible screws, the connections inside the j-box are accessible. It just takes a bit longer to access them - and recover them - and it is probable that the same screwdriver would be used to remove and replace all of the screws involved.

The box concerned would not be part of a building. It would be a fitting (or an accessory), just as much as the "box" of a fluorescent tube fitting would be if it were covering a j-box.
As the code was read to me a time or two, I was told that an electrician would not be expected to remove any part of the building or its finish to locate or access a j-box. It's not a good idea to do that even though nobody else will know... in fact, that's the problem... nobody later will know where to find that junction box that may have a failed connection.
 

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As the code was read to me a time or two, I was told that an electrician would not be expected to remove any part of the building or its finish to locate or access a j-box. It's not a good idea to do that even though nobody else will know... in fact, that's the problem... nobody later will know where to find that junction box that may have a failed connection.
Hopefully he will find power at the box he wants to use and this discussion will not matter.

I think he meant to make the lamps and the base into one lamp fixture so the unit would have to come down to be worked on as one. Much like a multi light bathroom fixture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hopefully he will find power at the box he wants to use and this discussion will not matter.

I think he meant to make the lamps and the base into one lamp fixture so the unit would have to come down to be worked on as one. Much like a multi light bathroom fixture.
That's a good way to describe it, Nealtw. So it sounds like I'll be OK as long as my fixture is easily (& obviously) removable.

None of the 3 pendants will be aligned closely enough with either existing can, so I'll extend the switched power to my assembly from whichever can can has it.

Thanks to everyone for all the comments, they're very helpful.
 

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That's a good way to describe it, Nealtw. So it sounds like I'll be OK as long as my fixture is easily (& obviously) removable.

None of the 3 pendants will be aligned closely enough with either existing can, so I'll extend the switched power to my assembly from whichever can can has it.

Thanks to everyone for all the comments, they're very helpful.
Great now all you have to do is figger out how to make the connections above the wood fit code. :wink2:
 

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Your first question should be "Which way do my ceiling joist run?".

Note; Your ceiling joist will run the same way as the floor joist.


Next question, how many cables does the fixture you want of move have in it? How far do you need to move it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great now all you have to do is figger out how to make the connections above the wood fit code. :wink2:
Yeah, that's the next thing I wondered about. I was planning on connecting the 3 boxes for my pendants with romex, but then wondered about just using THHN. The wiring to the boxes will be contained beween my wood "fixture" & the ceiling wallboard, so I'm not sure if THHN would be OK.
 

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Yeah, that's the next thing I wondered about. I was planning on connecting the 3 boxes for my pendants with romex, but then wondered about just using THHN. The wiring to the boxes will be contained beween my wood "fixture" & the ceiling wallboard, so I'm not sure if THHN would be OK.
You can't use open THHN... instead use romex. You'll have to use extension rings to bring the box face down relatively flush to comply with code... the romex can come off the extensions with 3/8 2-screw connectors.the same way you need to do it for any j-box inside that enclosure you are building.
 

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Yeah, that's the next thing I wondered about. I was planning on connecting the 3 boxes for my pendants with romex, but then wondered about just using THHN. The wiring to the boxes will be contained beween my wood "fixture" & the ceiling wallboard, so I'm not sure if THHN would be OK.

Or just plan on a descriptive cover on the junction box and put 3 surface mounted boxes on the ceiling and an extension box on the one with power.
 

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Or just plan on a descriptive cover on the junction box and put 3 surface mounted boxes on the ceiling and an extension box on the one with power.
With the proper extension or mud ring and plate combination, the final cover can be a common plastic wall box blank.

octo to 1-gang switch

You should be able to get one of those with whatever rise you need. usually come in 1/8" increments.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Or just plan on a descriptive cover on the junction box and put 3 surface mounted boxes on the ceiling and an extension box on the one with power.
This is a really good suggestion. Your graphic is exactly what I'm planning, except that I never thought of surface-mounting the boxes on the ceiling. I'm assuming that I won't be fortunate enough to have the locations for the surface mount boxes line up with the ceiling joists, but I'm thinking that I could attach a long steel strip, maybe 3/32" x 1", to the ceiling and attach the boxes to it. (The ceiling joists run perpendicular to the length of my planned fixture.) That would provide plenty of strength to hold the pendant lights. Although toggle bolts through the ceiling wallboard would probably provide enough strength.

Thanks so much; more to think about!
 
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