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Do computer system units actually go up in flames?

Do computer system units actually go up in flames?

There's a strong belief amoung non-technical people that home computers should not ever be left on unattended - since they are electrical devices and can go up in flames and set the room on fire.

Asked by: Guest | Views: 26
Total answers/comments: 5
Guest [Entry]

"I think we should distinguish between 'conflagrations' which emit a little smoke, and overheating which might cause fires by contact with something flammable.

Reputable computer hardware manufacturers use components which do not accelerate fires and are flame-retardant so far as possible.

The Underwriters Laboratories rating system requires these things, but Gnoupi is right about power supplies: don't buy very cheap ""noname"" power supplies: they may have been designed with no regard for safety considerations.

But, by and large, computer system unit don't go up in flames ... although there may be a few exceptional 'cases'."
Guest [Entry]

"My wife had a hard disk drive catch fire on her once, back in the old PC days. The computer was in a sporting goods store, very close to the skate sharpener, and she could taste the metal in the air when she used it. Since then, no problems.

However, thousands of companies leave thousands of computers on 24/7 without problems, so for a computer in known good shape in a known good environment, I wouldn't worry about it."
Guest [Entry]

"Yes, I once saw a locally-built computer flame up and melt itself down very completely.
I must say it was quite an impressive sight.

Unfortunately that was the computer on which I have spent a year working on my thesis.
But luckily I had a backup. But unfortunately only one backup.

The manufacturer gave me a new computer, and I was praying like hell when putting the backup
into the drive, and my prayers were answered!
That was the last time I ever used a single backup for anything."
Guest [Entry]

"I've seen the end results of CRT and power supply fires before. I now recommend that unattended computer equipment be shutdown unless there's a really good reason to leave it running...

Anything that handles a significant amount of power has a possibility of catching on fire. Computers are among some of the least likely things in a house to catch fire, but why leave it running for no reason and take a chance?"
Guest [Entry]


It can happen. I have had a video card shoot fire before.

Addition: The card failed with no overclocking at the time of failure. It just shut off over night and then in the morning when I found it, I opened the case to investigate. Reset the power supply, powered on, and flames shot off the video card. BFG did not question me when they went through their troubleshooting process for RMA. I was like, it shot fire out of a component on it. Haha.

Also, I have seen power supplies get very hot and burn up. Like people are saying, don't cheap out on a power supply. All the other times were technition mistakes back in the day I saw turn badly for them from connecting wires incorrectly or things not seated properly. You know something went wrong when you hear someone turn the system on and then a string of expletives following.

But to answer your question more directly, you will not normaly see computers just catch fire. Components are mostly made efficiently and safely today with tolerance and failure limits to prevent further damage and user safety. There is always exceptions, but in most cases, the component that dies just dies and computer will either give errors or just shut off."