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Discussion Starter #21
Maybe your circuit is dead simply because one of the toggle switches is set to the "generator" position and there is no generator hooked up now.
I'm certainly going to check the position of the switch as well as the connections inside the box but it wouldn't explain the lights going on and off and then staying off unless we've got a gremlin in the closet playing with the switches.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
* Problem Solved *

However it raises one last issue.

The bad connection was in fact in one of the switches that alternates power between the circuit panel and a generator. The switch was actually frozen in position.

There are six switches and one of them fed a TV room so I swapped things around and removed the TV room from the generator feed and used that switch for the garage/boiler/basement/3 bathroom GFI circuit that had lost power.

All ok now and it's not critical that I replace that one bad 3 way toggle but if I should decide to replace it, how do I go about doing that? I don't see how to remove the switch from the box. There are two cardboard "sleeves" that run through each switch and it appears that if I remove them I can then squeeze the tabs and pop the toggle out of the box? But that cardboard strip is tight in there and it seems like it will be difficult to slide it back in.

Or does the entire box have to be replaced?

Please refer to the pictures for clarification.
 

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If the toggle switch position really was the reason for the dead circuit, then your tying into a second circuit introduces another danger, if you had a power failure and brought in a generator. The generator would energize the "dead" circuit and also energize the tie in to the second circuit. If the second circuit had not been switched to generator power, it would, in a back feeding fashion, energize the panel and the lines going out to the utility pole.
Translation -your jury rig repair may one day kill a lineman.
You need to get an electrician in to fix the panel and your repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
Translation -your jury rig repair may one day kill a lineman.
You need to get an electrician in to fix the panel and your repairs.
No, you didn't read my last post.

I found the bad rocker (not toggle) switch in the generator switch bank box, and bypassed it by removing the circuit that feeds the TV room from the generator switch circuit, so I could use that generator switch for the circuit that feeds the boiler, garage, basement, and 3 bathroom GFIs.

The TV room circuit breaker now feeds directly to the TV room circuit, and the formerly bad circuit (garage, boiler, basement, bathroom GFIs) are now routed through the working generator switch that was formerly used for the TV room. The formerly dead circuit is no longer energized by another circuit.

Everything is working, safe, although there is now one less circuit routed through the generator switch box, and the unused wires from the generator switch box are capped off inside the circuit panel and everything is now clearly labeled.
 

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Provided that you know how a generator transfer switch works and how the rocker switches are hooked up* you can replace the bad rocker switch yourself.

However you may have to order the replacement switch from the maker of the switch box since it may have a custom shape and size to fit the screw holes and opening in the switch box front.

The switch probably has its amperes rating engraved or stamped on it, and you need a replacement with the same or greater rating. There has to be breaker (or fuse) protection for each circuit routed through the transfer switch box since the panel breaker is not in the picture during generator operation. Each rocker switch could well be a circuit breaker, you will have to verify that when ordering a replacement.

*As a 3 way switch, its common terminal is connected to the load (the branch circuit hot wire). One "traveler" terminal is connected to the generator feed (should be through a circuit breaker) and the other "traveler" terminal is connected to the wire going to the panel breaker for that branch circuit.
 
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