How-To Geek


Magic Smoke Is A Tongue-In-Cheek Term For Smoke Produced By?
Stage Show Magicians
Burning Evidence
Damaged Electronics
Recreational Mushroom Burning

Answer: Damaged Electronics

When an electrical component is damaged by overheating or an electrical short, it’s typical to see a puff or wisp of smoke escape the component as it burns up. This visible effect of a rather unfortunate event led to electrical engineers referring to the smoke as “magic smoke” or “factory smoke” in a joking fashion, as once the magic smoke was out the component no longer worked. The joke hinges on a logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc, in that it implies the device operated because of the smoke, and the release of the smoke caused the device to fail.

Image by Stefan Krause.

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