Ninety-nine percent of service calls received for generator controls "not in auto" are the direct result of human error. The obvious reason for "Not in Auto" is the main control switch left in the off/reset position. This usually occurs after testing or servicing of a generator. After any service is performed on a unit, always double check the generator system yourself. The technician's feelings will not be hurt by checking his work.
The control switch may have several positions as in "Off/Reset" and "Cool Down" which will cause the generator not to start in the event of a power outage. These positions should give an alarm. "Not in auto" is a generic term for the unit not being shut off, and may not actually be the main control switch. Alarms not reset, breakers open, switch gear not reset, emergency stop buttons activated, are all examples of "Not in Auto" failures.
Several generators are set up to shunt trip the main circuit breaker during an emergency fault shutdown. When the generator shuts itself down (emergency shutdown), someone has to physically reset the control panel to clear the alarm. There may be several things to check and reset after a fault shutdown; however, this should only be done once the cause of the alarm has been identified and corrected.
Ground fault sensors are required by certain building codes or engineers during construction, and must be added onto a generator. Some of these sensors look like light switches that are inadvertently turned off. Ground fault sensor shutdowns can be difficult to spot; they are not always tied to an audible or visual alarm. It is important that you determine if your standby generator is equipped with one of these sensors and how to reset it. If the generator uses remote switch gear, the switch gear will normally have to be reset. It is important to know your system and what it does during a fault shutdown. Simulate a fault to see what it takes to get it running again in the event of an emergency.