What Would Cause a Laptop to Smoke?

Written by mark koltko-rivera
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What Would Cause a Laptop to Smoke?
A smoking laptop is never a good thing. (laptop image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com)

Your laptop computer is sealed at the factory and has very few moving parts. Why would a laptop suddenly begin to emit smoke? Regardless of the reason, you should not open the laptop or try to repair the problem yourself. The capacitors in a laptop hold a strong electrical charge that can cause injury to the user. At the first sign of smoke, shut down the computer, disconnect the power cord and take it to an authorised dealer for repair.

To prevent the possibility of a smoking laptop, keep dust and other debris such as paper shreds, food particles and tobacco smoke away from the laptop, both when it is operating as well as when the computer is turned off.

Fan Malfunction

A laptop computer generates a great deal of heat within a small space. The heat is usually dissipated by a small interior fan. However, laptop fans can fail because of excessive dust, tobacco smoke, a manufacturing defect, or wear and tear over time. Any of these factors could cause the fan motor to malfunction and produce smoke.

Flammable Debris

Dust and debris can enter the laptop from outside. Tiny bits of paper, small dust balls, or food particles can accumulate on heat-generating components such as the video card, RAM modules or the central processing unit. If these flammable substances ignite, the laptop could produce smoke.

Hardware Defect

In rare instances, problems related to internal hardware may create a short circuit in the laptop, causing a small fire that can give off smoke. This is a particularly dangerous situation for users to attempt to fix on their own and this action should be avoided. Do not open a smoking computer -- leave repairs to a trained professional.

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