Title:
Recess light fixture adapter and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture in an existing ceiling or a wall comprises an interior member for mounting against the interior surface of a ceiling or a wall, an exterior member for mounting against the exterior surface of a ceiling or a wall, and fasteners for interconnecting the interior member and the exterior member with respect to the ceiling or a wall.



Inventors:
Rae, Andrew (Mississauga, CA)
Application Number:
10/986374
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
11/12/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/52
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANDREW RAE (c/o UNIT 33 - 2280 MUNN'S AVENUE EAST, OAKVILLE, ON, L6H 3L1, CA)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture in an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening, said recess light fixture adapter comprising: an interior member for mounting against the interior surface of a ceiling or a wall; an exterior member for mounting against the exterior surface of a ceiling or a wall; and, means for interconnecting said interior member and said exterior member with respect to said ceiling or a wall.

2. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 1, wherein said interior member comprises an interior plate having a perimeter edge, an upper surface, and a lower surface.

3. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 2, wherein said interior plate has an interior fixture receiving aperture disposed therein.

4. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 3, wherein said interior plate is flexible.

5. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 4, wherein said interior plate is made from metal.

5. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 4, wherein said interior plate is made from plastic.

6. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 4, wherein said interior plate further comprises a slit defined by first and second opposed edges, and wherein said slit extends from said perimeter edge of said interior plate to said interior fixture receiving aperture of said interior plate.

7. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 6, wherein said interior plate further comprises first and second threaded apertures for receiving co-operating threaded fasteners therein.

8. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 7, wherein said interior plate further comprises first and second aperture reinforcements secured to said interior plate, and said first and second apertures extend through said first and second aperture reinforcements, respectively.

9. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 1, wherein said exterior member comprises an exterior plate having a perimeter edge, an upper surface, and a lower surface.

10. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 9, wherein said exterior plate has an exterior fixture receiving aperture disposed therein.

11. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 10, wherein said exterior plate comprises first and second apertures therein for receiving co-operating threaded fasteners therethrough.

12. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 11, wherein said exterior plate is circular.

13. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 1, wherein said exterior plate is decorative in shape.

14. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 13, wherein at least a portion of said exterior plate is translucent.

15. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 13, wherein at least a portion of said exterior plate is transparent.

16. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 1, wherein said means for interconnecting said interior member and said exterior member in clamping relation comprises first and second threaded fasteners.

17. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 1, wherein said means for interconnecting said interior member and said exterior member with respect to said ceiling or a wall, interconnects said interior member and said exterior member in clamping relation with respect to said ceiling or a wall.

18. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 1, wherein said means for interconnecting said interior member and said exterior member in clamping relation comprises first and second spring members.

19. The recess light fixture adapter of claim 9, wherein said exterior plate further comprises first and second aperture receiving mounts secured to the upper surface of said exterior plate, and said first and second apertures extend through said first and second aperture receiving mounts, respectively.

20. A method of mounting a recess light fixture in an existing ceiling or a wall, said method comprising the steps of: (A) mounting an interior member against the interior surface of a ceiling or a wall; (B) mounting an exterior member against the exterior surface of a ceiling or a wall; and (C) interconnecting said interior member and said exterior member in clamping relation with respect to said ceiling or a wall.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to recess light fixture adapters, and more particularly to recess light fixture adapters for mounting a recess light fixture in an existing ceiling or wall having an over-sized opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention, as to its structure, organization, use and method of operation, together with further objectives and advantages thereof, will be better understood from the following drawings in which a presently preferred embodiment of the invention will now be illustrated by way of example. It is expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only, and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view a prior art recessed light installed in a ceiling;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 of the opening in the existing ceiling used to accommodate the prior art recessed light of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention installed in the over-sized opening in the existing ceiling, of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side elevational view taken. along section line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the exterior plate of the recess light fixture adapter of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the exterior plate of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the exterior plate of FIG. 5, taken along section line 7-7 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the interior plate of the recess light fixture adapter of FIG. 3;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the interior plate of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the interior plate of FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the interior plate of FIG. 8, taken along section line 11-11 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 4, but prior to the recess light fixture adapter being installed in the opening;

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 12, but with the interior plate about to be installed;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 13, but with the interior plate partially installed;

FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 14, but with the interior plate installed;

FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 15, but additionally with the exterior plate about to be installed;

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 16, but with the exterior plate in place and with the threaded fasteners about to engage the exterior plate and the interior plate;

FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 17, but with the threaded fasteners in place and the recess light fixture adapter fully installed;

FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 18, but with a recess light fixture about to be installed in the recess light fixture adapter;

FIG. 20 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 19, but with the recess light fixture partially installed in the recess light fixture adapter;

FIG. 21 is a cross-sectional side elevational view similar to FIG. 20, but with the recess light fixture fully installed in the recess light fixture adapter;

FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of a first alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention;

FIG. 23 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of a second alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention;

FIG. 24 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of a third alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention;

FIG. 25 is a perspective view of the fourth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention installed in the over-sized opening in an existing ceiling;

FIG. 26 is a perspective view from the top of the interior plate of the fourth alternative embodiment recess light fixture adapter of FIG. 25;

FIG. 27 is a bottom plan view of the interior plate of FIG. 26;

FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of the interior plate of FIG. 26, taken along section line 28-28;

FIG. 29 is an enlarged cross-sectional side elevational view of a portion of the interior plate shown in FIG. 28;

FIG. 30 is a perspective view of the interior plate of the fourth alternative embodiment recess light fixture adapter of FIG. 25;

FIG. 31 is a top plan view of the exterior plate of FIG. 30;

FIG. 32 is a bottom plan view of the exterior plate of FIG. 30;

FIG. 33 is a side elevational view of the exterior plate of FIG. 30;

FIG. 34 is a cross-sectional front elevational view of the exterior plate of FIG. 30, taken along section line 34-34 of FIG. 31;

FIG. 35 is an enlarged cross-sectional front elevational view of the exterior plate of FIG. 30, taken along section line 35-35 of FIG. 31;

FIG. 36 is an enlarged cross-sectional front elevational view of the exterior plate of FIG. 30, taken along section line 36-36 of FIG. 31;

FIG. 37 is an enlarged cross-sectional front elevational view of the exterior plate of FIG. 30, taken along section line 37-37 of FIG. 31;

FIG. 38 is a side elevational view of the fifth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention, but showing only the exterior plate;

FIG. 39 is a side elevational view the fifth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of FIG. 38, installed in the over-sized opening in an existing ceiling;

FIG. 40 is a side elevational view of the sixth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention;

FIG. 41 is a side elevational view of the seventh alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention, with the posts in a stored configuration;

FIG. 42 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 41, but with the posts in an in-use configuration;

FIG. 43 is a side elevational view of the eighth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention;

FIG. 44 is a side elevational view of the ninth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention;

FIG. 45 is a side elevational view of the tenth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention; and

FIG. 46 is a side elevational view of the eleventh alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Recess light fixtures are installed in the ceilings of many residential basements and homes, offices, and many other commercial buildings. Over the past several years, such recess light fixtures commonly have been about five or six inches in diameter. Such a prior art recess light fixture installed in a ceiling is shown in FIG. 1.

More recently, relatively compact recess light fixtures having a diameter of about two inches, three inches, four inches, or four and one eighth inches, or essentially any size less than five inches, have become common, and are replacing the older style wider diameter recess light fixtures. As a result, once the older style six inch diameter recessed lights are removed from ceiling, an over-sized opening exists. However, an opening in the ceiling that accommodates a six inch diameter recess light fixture will not properly accommodate a four or four and one half inch diameter recess light fixture. Accordingly, the opening must be altered, filled in, or changed in some manner. If the ceiling is a plaster ceiling, the ceiling must be partially reconstructed and replastered, and then repainted, as appropriate, which is a nuisance and also relatively expensive. Indeed, the cost and inconvenience are significant deterrent to replacing older recess light fixtures with newer recess light fixtures.

Currently, there is no known means in the prior art to mount a recess light fixture into an existing ceiling having an existing over-sized opening. The closest relevant prior art will now be discussed.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,677 issued Nov. 17, 1998 to Conners et al, discloses a Retrofit Compact Flourescent Lamp System that comprises a reflector unit adapting to be installed into an existing light fixture. The reflector unit provides an improved environment for distribution of light from a compact flourescent lamp. A light fixture is inserted into an opening in a ceiling that encloses a compact flourescent lamp and reflector unit for the compact flourescent lamp.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,149,280 issued Nov. 21, 2000, to Quiogue et al, discloses a Method and Apparatus for Retrofitting Canopy Luminaire Assemblies. An existing light fixture is removed and housing brackets are attached to the housing flanges of the existing canopy housing. An adapter plate comprising a plate with a deck plate bracket having a latch, is mounted to the housing brackets by use of the latch. A lighting assembly comprising a light source, a lens, and a reflector, is attached to the adapter plate.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture into an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture into an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening, wherein another recess light fixture has been removed from the opening.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture into an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening, which recess light fixture adapter is easy to install.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture into an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening, which recess light fixture adapter is inexpensive to manufacture.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture into an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening, which recess light fixture adapter precludes the reconstruction of a plaster ceiling.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention there is disclosed a novel recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture in an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing oversized opening. The recess light fixture adapter comprises an interior member for mounting against the interior surface of a ceiling or a wall, an exterior member for mounting against the exterior surface of a ceiling or a wall, and means for interconnecting the interior member and the exterior member with respect to the ceiling or a wall.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention there is disclosed a novel method of mounting a recess light fixture in an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening, the method comprising the steps of mounting an interior member against the interior surface of a ceiling or a wall; mounting an exterior member against the exterior surface of a ceiling or a wall; and interconnecting the interior member and the exterior member with respect to the ceiling or a wall.

Other advantages, features and characteristics of the present invention, as well as methods of operation and functions of the related elements of the structure, and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and the appended claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, the latter of which is briefly described herein below.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 46 of the drawings, it will be noted that FIG. 1 illustrates a prior at recess light fixture, FIG. 2 illustrates the opening in the existing ceiling used to accommodate the prior art recessed light of FIG. 1, FIGS. 3 through 21 illustrate a preferred embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIG. 22 illustrates a first alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIG. 23 illustrates a second alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIG. 24 illustrates a third alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIGS. 25 through 37 illustrate a fourth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIGS. 38 and 39 illustrate a fifth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIG. 40 illustrates a sixth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIGS. 41 and 42 illustrate a seventh alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIG. 43 illustrates an eighth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIG. 44 illustrates a ninth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, FIG. 45 illustrates a tenth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, and FIG. 46 illustrates an eleventh alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention.

Reference will now be made to FIGS. 1 through 21, to describe in detail a preferred embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, as indicated by general reference numeral 20. The ceiling 24 may be a plaster ceiling or a drop ceiling, and the wall can be a plaster wall or a drywall type of wall. The recess light fixture adapter 20, is for mounting a recess light fixture 22 in an existing ceiling 24 or a wall having an existing over-sized opening 26. For the sake of convenience, the ceiling 24 will be referred to in this description. The existing over-sized opening 26 is typically the result of a larger diameter fixture being removed from the ceiling 24, but may also be the result of an opening being cut too large.

Briefly, the preferred embodiment recess light fixture adapter 20 comprises interior plate 30 that is disposed behind the ceiling 24, and an exterior plate that is disposed on the outer surface of the ceiling 24. First and second threaded fasteners 51,52 interconnect the interior member 30 and the exterior member 60. The recess light fixture adapter 20 will now be described in detail.

The recess light fixture adapter 20 comprises an interior member for mounting against the interior surface of a ceiling 24 or a wall. In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated, the interior member comprises the interior plate 30. The interior plate 30 has a perimeter edge 32, an upper surface 34, a lower surface 36, and an interior fixture receiving aperture 38 disposed therein. The interior fixture receiving aperture 38 is shown as circular in shape, but may also be any other suitable shape. The recess light fixture 22 that is to be mounted in the wall or ceiling 24 passes through the interior fixture receiving aperture 38.

The interior plate 30 is flexible, and is preferably made from a strong material such as various metals (such as aluminum or steel), plastic, any suitable material or materials.

The interior plate 30 further comprises a slit 40 defined by first and second opposed edges 42,44. The slit 40 extends from the perimeter edge 32 of the interior plate 30 to the interior fixture receiving aperture 38 of the interior plate 30.

The interior plate 30 further comprises first and second aperture reinforcements secured to the upper surface of the interior plate 30. The first and second aperture reinforcements 46,48 are preferably made from a suitable metal material, for the purposes of strength and durability, but also may be made from a suitable plastic material, or any other suitable material. If the first and second aperture reinforcements 46,48, and the interior plate 30 are all made from a suitable metal material, the first and second aperture reinforcements 46,48 are each secured to the interior plate 30 preferably by means of a metal stake 54,56 and also by welding, as illustrated. If the first and second aperture reinforcements 46,48, and the interior plate 30 are all made from a suitable plastic material, they may all be integrally moulded in one piece.

The interior plate 30 has first and second threaded apertures 57,58 for receiving the co-operating threaded fasteners 51,52 therein. The first and second threaded apertures 57,58 also extend through the first and second aperture reinforcements 46,48, respectively.

The exterior member 60 of the recess light fixture adapter 20 is for mounting against the exterior surface of the ceiling 24. In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated, the exterior member 60 comprises the circular exterior plate 60. The exterior plate 60 has a perimeter edge 62, an upper surface 64, a lower surface 66, and an exterior fixture receiving aperture 68 disposed therein. The exterior fixture receiving aperture 68 is shown as circular in shape, but may also be any other suitable shape. The recess light fixture 22 that is to be mounted in the wall or ceiling 24 passes through the exterior fixture receiving aperture 68.

The exterior plate 60 comprises first and second apertures 70,72 therein for receiving co-operating first and second threaded fasteners 51,52 therethrough, respectively, which threaded fasteners 51,52 extend to the first and second threaded apertures 57,58 of the interior plate 30.

When the interior plate 30 and the exterior plate 60 are in place in the ceiling 24, the interior fixture receiving aperture 38 of the interior plate 30 and the exterior fixture receiving aperture 68 of the exterior plate 60 are substantially aligned one with the other so as to permit a recess light fixture 22 that is to be mounted in the wall or ceiling 24 to pass therethrough.

There is also means for interconnecting the interior member 30 and the exterior member 60 in clamping relation with respect to the ceiling 24. In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated, the means for interconnecting the interior member 30 and the exterior member 60 in clamping relation comprises the first and second threaded fasteners 51,52.

In use, the interior member 30, specifically the interior plate 30 as illustrated, is mounted against the interior surface 24i of the ceiling 24, as will now be described with reference to FIGS. 12 through 15. FIG. 12 shows an existing ceiling 24 having an existing opening 26 from which a old style six inch diameter recess light fixture (FIG. 1) has been removed in favour of a smaller diameter recess light fixture 22. Relative to the smaller diameter recess light fixture 22, the opening 26 (FIG. 2) is an over-sized opening 26, and the smaller diameter recess light fixture 22 cannot be mounted therein without the use of the recess light fixture adapter 20 according to the present invention.

As indicated by arrow “A” in FIG. 13, the exterior member 60, specifically the exterior plate 60, is introduced to the over-sized opening 26 in the ceiling 24. The flexible exterior plate 60 is then elastically deformed such that the by first and second opposed edges 42,44 that define the slit 40 are separated one from the other. As indicated by arrow “B” in FIG. 14, one of the first and second opposed edges 42,44, and in this case the first opposed edge 42, is introduced above the ceiling 24. The exterior plate 60 is then “spiralled” inwardly and upwardly until the exterior plate 60 has been passed through the over-sized opening 26, even though the interior plate 30 itself is wider than the over-sized opening 26. As can be best seen in FIG. 15, the interior plate 30 is then mounted against the interior surface 24i of the ceiling 24.

The exterior plate 60 is then introduced to the ceiling 24, as indicated by arrow “C” in FIG. 16, and mounted against the exterior surface 24e of the ceiling 24, as can be best seen in FIG. 17. The interior fixture receiving aperture 38 and the exterior fixture receiving aperture 68 must be aligned one with the other. Further, the first aperture 70 of the exterior plate 60 and the first threaded aperture 57 of the interior plate 30 must be aligned one with the other, and the second aperture 72 of the exterior plate 60 and the second threaded aperture 58 of the interior plate 30 must be aligned one with the other.

The means for interconnecting the interior member and the exterior member 60 in clamping relation, specifically the first and second threaded fasteners 51,52 as illustrated, are introduced to the exterior plate 60, as indicated by arrows “D” in FIG. 17. The first and second threaded fasteners 51,52 are first inserted into the first and second apertures 70,72 of the exterior plate 60, and then threadibly engaged into the first and second threaded apertures 57,58 of the interior plate 30. As can be best seen in FIG. 18, the first and second threaded fasteners 51,52 are turned until the interior plate 30 is brought into clamping engagement with the interior surface of the ceiling 24 and the exterior plate 60 is brought into clamping engagement with the exterior surface of the ceiling 24. Accordingly, the means for interconnecting the interior member and the exterior member 60 in clamping relation, namely the first and second threaded fasteners 51,52, are used to interconnect the interior member and the exterior member 60 in clamping relation with respect to the ceiling 24.

Finally, as indicated by arrow “E” in FIG. 19, the recess light fixture 22 is introduced to the recess light fixture adapter 20 that has been installed in the over-sized opening 26 in the ceiling 24. As can be best seen in FIG. 20, the recess light fixture 22 is passed through the exterior fixture receiving aperture 68 and then through the interior fixture receiving aperture 38, until it is properly mounted in place in the recess light fixture adapter 20. Depending on the specific recess light fixture 22, the securing of the recess light fixture 22 in place may happen in any one of a number of ways. As illustrated, the two arms are bent into an installed shape so as to retain the recess light fixture in place. Other methods and structures are alternatively used to retain the recess light fixture in place depending on the manufacturer of the recess light fixture.

Further, in the above described manner, the present invention also provides a method of mounting a recess light fixture 22 in an existing ceiling 24.

Reference will now be made to FIG. 22, which shows a first alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention, as indicated by general reference numeral 120. The first alternative embodiment recess light fixture adapter 120 is similar to the preferred embodiment recess light fixture adapter 20 except that the means for interconnecting the interior member 130 and the exterior member 160 in clamping relation comprises first and second spring members 151,152. Accordingly, the first and second spring members 151,152 permanently interconnect the interior plate 130 and the exterior plate 160. The first and second spring members 151,152 are dimensioned such that they are in tension when the recess light fixture adapter 120 is in place in the ceiling 124, in order to keep the recess light fixture adapter 120 securely in place.

Reference will now be made to FIG. 23, which shows a second alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention, as indicated by general reference numeral 220. The second alternative embodiment recess light fixture adapter 220 is similar to the preferred embodiment recess light fixture adapter 20 except that the exterior plate 260 further comprises first and second aperture receiving mounts 261,263 secured to the upper surface 264 of the exterior plate 260. The first and second apertures 270,272 extend through the first and second aperture receiving mounts 261,263, respectively, and not through the exterior plate 260. In this manner, the first and second threaded fasteners 251,252 are hidden when the second alternative embodiment recess light fixture adapter 220 is in place in the ceiling 224, and a recess light fixture (not shown) is in place in the second alternative embodiment recess light fixture adapter 220. The first and second aperture reinforcements 246,248, on the interior plate 230 have first and second threaded apertures 257,258 extend therethrough, respectively, to receive the first and second threaded fasteners 251,252, respectively, therein.

Reference will now be made to FIG. 24, which shows a third alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter according to the present invention, as indicated by general reference numeral 320. The third alternative embodiment recess light fixture adapter 320 is similar to the preferred embodiment recess light fixture adapter 20 except that the exterior plate 360 is decorative in shape, specifically a flower, which might be suitable for a kitchen. Other shapes can also be used, such as ones that might be suitable for a child's bedroom. Further, at least a portion 361 of the exterior plate 360 is transparent to permit light to shine through the exterior plate 360, and at least a portion 362 of the exterior plate 360 is translucent to make those portions 362 of the exterior plate 360 glow, all for the purpose of making the exterior plate 360 attractive.

Reference will now be made to FIGS. 25 through 37, to describe in detail a fourth alternative embodiment of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention, as indicated by general reference numeral 420. The recess light fixture adapter 420, is for mounting a recess light fixture 422 in an existing ceiling 424 or a wall having an existing over-sized opening 426, and is similar to the preferred embodiment recess light fixture adapter 20 of the present invention, except that the first and second threaded fasteners 51,52 have been replaced, as will be described subsequently.

Briefly, the preferred embodiment recess light fixture adapter 420 comprises interior plate 430 that is disposed behind the ceiling 424, and an exterior plate that is disposed on the outer surface of the ceiling 424. First and second posts 451,452 interconnect the interior member 430 and the exterior member 460. The recess light fixture adapter 420 will now be described in detail.

The recess light fixture adapter 420 comprises an interior member for mounting against the interior surface of a ceiling 424 or a wall. In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated, the interior member comprises the interior plate 430. The interior plate 430 has a perimeter edge 432, an upper surface 434, a lower surface 436, and an interior fixture receiving aperture 438 disposed therein. The interior fixture receiving aperture 438 is shown as circular in shape, but may also be any other suitable shape. The recess light fixture 422 that is to be mounted in the wall or ceiling 424 passes through the interior fixture receiving aperture 438.

The interior plate 430 is flexible, and is preferably made from a strong material such as metal, or perhaps plastic.

The interior plate 430 further comprises a slit 440 defined by first and second opposed edges 442,444. The slit 440 extends from the perimeter edge 432 of the interior plate 430 to the interior fixture receiving aperture 438 of the interior plate 430.

The interior plate 430 has first and second slot-shaped apertures 457,458 for receiving the co-operating posts 451,452 therein.

The interior plate 430 has concentric first, second and third substantially circular scores 431,433,435 cut into it, surrounding the interior fixture receiving aperture 438. Actually, each of the substantially circular scores 431,433,435 comprises two substantially semi-circular scores separated by small portions of metal. As illustrated, the interior fixture receiving aperture 438 is three and three-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture from about three inches in diameter to about three and three-eighths inches in diameter. The first score 431 is three and seven-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture in the range from about three and three-eighths inches to about three and seven-eighths inches in diameter, the second score 433 is four and three-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture in the range from about three and seven-eighths inches to about four and three-eighths inches in diameter, and the third score 435 is four and seven-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture in the range from about four and three-eighths inches to about four and seven-eighths inches in diameter.

The recess light fixture adapter 420 also comprises an exterior member 460 for mounting against the exterior surface of the ceiling 424. In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated, the exterior member 460 comprises the circular exterior plate 460 that is upwardly concave. The exterior plate 460 has a perimeter edge 465, an upper surface 464, a lower surface 466, and an exterior fixture receiving aperture 468 disposed therein. The exterior fixture receiving aperture 468 is shown as circular in shape, but may also be any other suitable shape. The recess light fixture 422 that is to be mounted in the wall or ceiling 424 passes through the exterior fixture receiving aperture 468.

The exterior plate 460 has concentric first, second and third substantially circular score lines 461,462,463 moulded into the upper surface 464 of the exterior plate 460, so that the score lines that remain on the exterior plate 460 when it is in place, cannot be seen. The first, second, and third substantially circular score lines 461,462,463 surround the exterior fixture receiving aperture 468, and permit the exterior plate 460 to properly fit any presently know size of recess light fixture. As illustrated, the exterior fixture receiving aperture 468 is three and three-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture from about three inches in diameter to about three and three-eighths inches in diameter. The first score line 461 is three and seven-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture in the range from about three and three-eighths inches to about three and seven-eighths inches in diameter, the second score line 462 is four and three-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture in the range from about three and seven-eighths inches to about four and three-eighths inches in diameter, and the third score line 463 is four and seven-eighths inches in diameter to receive a recess light fixture in the range from about four and three-eighths inches to about four and seven-eighths inches in diameter. Alternatively, a hole saw, a sharp knife, or any other suitable tool could be used to cut an aperture of a suitable size.

The score lines 461,462,463 are separated into four quadrants by four radial score lines 469.

When the interior plate 430 and the exterior plate 460 are in place in the ceiling 424, the interior fixture receiving aperture 438 of the interior plate 430 and the exterior fixture receiving aperture 468 of the exterior plate 460 are substantially aligned one with the other so as to permit a recess light fixture 422 that is to be mounted in the wall or ceiling 424 to pass therethrough.

There is also means for interconnecting the interior member 430 and the exterior member 460 in clamping relation with respect to the ceiling 424. In the preferred embodiment, as illustrated, the means for interconnecting the interior member 430 and the exterior member 460 in clamping relation comprises the first and second posts 451,452. The first and second posts 451,452 extend upwardly from the exterior plate 460. As can be best seen in FIGS. 30, 33, 34 and 37, the posts 451,452 comprise two arm portions 451a,451b, and 452a,45b, respectively, and an end loop portion 451c,452c.

In use, as can be best seen in FIG. 25, the interior plate 430 is mounted against the interior surface 424i of the ceiling 424, in the same manner as is described for the interior member 30 in the preferred embodiment recess light fixture adapter 20. The exterior plate 460 is then mounted against the exterior surface 424e of the ceiling 424. The interior fixture receiving aperture 438 and the exterior fixture receiving aperture 468 must be aligned one with the other. Further, each of the posts 451,452 of the exterior plate 460 must be aligned with a corresponding one of the first and second slot-shaped apertures 457,458 of the interior plate 430. The end loop portion 451b,452b of the posts 451,452 are compressed as they pass through the first and second slot-shaped apertures 457,458, and retain the exterior plate 460 in mounted relation to the interior plate 430 before the recess light fixture 422 is mounted in place.

The recess light fixture 422 is then introduced to the recess light fixture adapter 420 that has been installed in the over-sized opening 426 in the ceiling 424. The two spring arms 423 are pushed inwardly during the installation of the recess light fixture 422, and then spring outwardly so as to each be aligned with a corresponding one of the co-operating receiving slots 431 in the interior plate 430.

Reference will now be made to FIGS. 38 and 39, which show a fifth alternative embodiment of the interior plate 560 and interior plate 530 according to the present invention. The exterior plate 560 has a pair of plastic posts 570,572. Each post is about two to three inches long, and is ribbed along its length. The slanted ribs are dimensioned just slightly greater than co-operating apertures 557,558 due to deformation upon being forced through the apertures and contact the upper surface 534 of the interior plate 530, after expanding, so as to preclude the posts 570,572 from being extracted from the respective apertures 557,558. In the event that the exterior plate 560 is made from plastic, the posts 570,572 may be integrally formed with the exterior plate 560. If desired, the posts 570,572 may be otherwise secured to the exterior plate 560 in a suitable manner.

Reference will now be made to FIG. 40, which shows a sixth alternative embodiment of the present invention, as indicated by the general reference numeral 620. In this sixth alternative embodiment, the plastic posts 670,672 are not integrally formed with the exterior plate 660, but are separate. The plastic posts 670,672 has a square head 671,673, respectively that is received within a co-operating recess 661,663 defined by two opposed co-planar flanges 662a,662b and 664a,664b formed on the exterior plate 660.

Reference will now be made to FIGS. 41 and 42, which show a seventh alternative embodiment of the present invention, as indicated by the general reference numeral 720. In this seventh alternative embodiment, each post 770,772 is integrally moulded with the exterior plate 760 and attached thereto by means of a living hinge 771,773. Prior to use, each of the posts 770 is in a stored configuration, disposed against the exterior plate 760, as shown in FIG. 41. For the purpose of installation, each of the posts 770 is in an in-use configuration, flipped up so as to be disposed perpendicularly to the exterior plate 760, as shown in FIG. 42.

Reference will now be made to FIG. 43, which shows an eighth alternative embodiment of the present invention, as indicated by the general reference numeral 820. In this eighth alternative embodiment, two torsion spring clips 870 each act as a post. Each torsion spring clip 870 has a lower ring-shaped base 871 and a pair of serpentine arms 872a,872b extending upwardly from the lower ring-shaped base 871 at diverging orientations. Each of the serpentine arms 872a,872b terminates in a transverse end portion 873a,873b. The lower ring-shaped base 871 is retained in frictional relation to a co-operating round transversely oriented post on an exterior plate (not shown). In use, the serpentine arms 872a,872b are pinched together and the a transverse end portions 873a,873b are inserted through a co-operating aperture in an interior plate (not shown).

Reference will now be made to FIG. 44, which shows an ninth alternative embodiment of the present invention, as indicated by the general reference numeral 920. In this ninth alternative embodiment, the torsion spring clip 970 is similar to the torsion spring clip 870 in the eighth alternative embodiment of the present invention, except that the arms 972a,972b are substantially straight, instead of being serpentine in shape.

Reference will now be made to FIG. 45, which shows an tenth alternative embodiment of the present invention, as indicated by the general reference numeral 1020. In this tenth alternative embodiment, two leaf spring clips 1070 each act as a post. Each leaf spring clip 1070 has a two oppositely directed feet 1071a,1071b and a pair of substantially parallel serpentine arms 1072a,1072b extending upwardly from the oppositely directed feet 1071a,1071b, respectively. The serpentine arms 1072a,1072b are joined at the top in a curved end portion 1073. The two oppositely directed feet 1071a,1071b are attached to an exterior plate (not shown) within a recess formed by two opposed co-planar flanges (not shown).

Reference will now be made to FIG. 46, which shows an eleventh alternative embodiment of the present invention, as indicated by the general reference numeral 1120. In this eleventh alternative embodiment, each post comprises a “Christmas clip” 1170. Each “Christmas clip” 1170 has a central post portion 1171 and a plurality of thin bristles 1172 extending transversely outwardly from the central post portion 1171. The diameter of the central post portion 1171 is slightly smaller than a co-operating aperture in an interior plate (not shown) and the overall outside diameter of the “Christmas clip” 1170 across the ends of the plurality of thin bristles 1172 is larger than the co-operating aperture in an interior plate. In this manner, the plurality of thin bristles 1172 retain the “Christmas clip” 1170 in an interior plate.

It should also be noted that when installing a recess light fixture, the exterior plate could be used to cover a hole that has been mistakenly cut slightly too large for the recess light fixture.

Other variations of the above principles will be apparent to those who are knowledgeable in the field of the invention, and such variations are considered to be within the scope of the present invention. Further, other modifications and alterations may be used in the design and manufacture of the recess light fixture adapter of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the accompanying claims.

As can be understood from the above description and from the accompanying drawings, the present invention provides a recess light fixture adapter for mounting a recess light fixture into an existing ceiling or a wall having an existing over-sized opening, especially wherein another recess light fixture has been removed from the opening, which recess light fixture adapter is easy to install, is inexpensive to manufacture, and precludes the reconstruction of a plaster ceiling, all of which features are unknown in the prior art.