LED Recessed Lighting Retrofit




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How to modernize ancient technology in about an hour while improving safety and being "green" at the same time. This retrofit of a seventies-vintage "can light" cost approximately twenty-five dollars for the under-the-counter LED light kit, plug and related hardware. Energy savings? Consider the light output of better than a forty-watt bulb for about six watts--to say nothing of all the heat you WON'T be generating.


Step 1: Materials

One under-the-counter LED light kit (120 VAC)
One lamp socket outlet adapter
One standard replacement plug
One tube clear silicone sealant (or equivalent)
One 6" PVC wall guard (behind-the

Step 2: Tools

One 3" hole saw
One drill
One pair wire strippers
One screwdriver w/multiple bits
One pair side-cutters

Step 3: Assembly

Turn off power to recessed (can) light

Remove dome and bezel from old recessed (can) light

Remove bulb from can light; replace with socket outlet adaptor

Remove dome from bezel; take care not to damage bezel or dome retaining clips

Find center of wall guard using compass/protractor; check for accuracy

Cut 3" hole (may differ from light kit to light kit) using hole saw

Place new PVC adapter inside old dome bezel; press old retaining clips down onto PVC adapter

Using clear silicone, liberally seal around inside edge of bezel, and outside/inside edge of PVC adapter (neatness counts)

Place light kit inside hole of PVC adapter and press down into sealant; wait until silicone has cured (!)

Using supplied power cord of light kit, make up a shorter power cable using standard plug replacement

Plug modular end of power cable into light kit; plug standard plug into socket outlet adapter

Re-Install entire assembly in old can light as shown

Restore power

Voila! You're done.



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    9 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    The under the counter "puck" light used is made by "Lights America", they are made in China.  I used these pucks for my kitchen as "under the counter" lights.  Initially, they were very bright and cast a nice pattern.  But after 30 days, the LED's became noticeably dimmer, after 60 days, even more so.  One or two even stopped working after about 2 weeks.  Luckily, I got mine at Walmart and the return policy allowed for quick replacements, but after 6mos. the lights were not longer usable.  Past the 90day return at Walmart as they were really dim.  I took one apart to see if I could figure out why, turns out that the AC to DC circuit is very crude, only a 1/2wave bridge (2 diodes) and a large current limiting resistor.  I think that this circuit allow too much current to the leds when the AC line voltage was higher than normal (all AC fluctuates up/down a few volts).  Also, the design was inferior because all of the leds were wired in series, when one blew out, the entire string no longer worked.  I did contact Lights America and they sent me 6 replacements, the circuit board was different and the leds were no longer wired in series, but the overall  life and brightness degraded at about the same rate.  After a few weeks, the grew dimmer and dimmer.  I ended up replacing them back with 10w halogen puck lights.  This was at least 2 years ago, maybe these led pucks are better now.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Nope.  This specific kind of light is no better now than then.   Your experience mirrors my own.  Fortunately, however, 'puck' lights now come in various styles and nations of manufacture.  If you're lucky, you can find 'good' ones made in either Japan or Thailand.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I've never seen those recessed lighting fittings before, but I like them. Good job with this, bet it looks great.

    4 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    This particular fixture is in the shower (!) of a friend's guest house. We figure it was OEM from the late sixties. (She wanted me to replace it with something a bit less 'scary.') By the time I got through sealing it, let's just say that safety was no longer an issue. :-)

    Recessed lighting is made for anywhere that designers/builders/owners want it. That can be pools, shower stalls, etc. (*with* the proper seals/moisture barrier rating) or it can be in hallways, kitchens, bedrooms, et al.

    What made this project 'special' was that it used new technology to replace the old, thereby cutting down on a lot of wasted heat/energy.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    ahhh, hence the tiles. Recessed lighting is the best, closer to being an actual window or aperture. Little more costly to do though, especially retro fitting.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    They suck!(you told me to lie,so i did:))