I picked up an Arduino starter kit from Radioshack yesterday and started playing with it today. Didn't have anything wired into it; we just played with some sketches and for-loops making the on-board LED blink recognizable patterns. Scooting the cable and board back from the edge of the table, it went dark. I unplugged it from the Toshiba laptop and plugged it back in. It came back up for a bit, then after a few more minutes of running its program, went dark.
I investigated driver issues, etc. I confirmed the usb port was working with a USB mouse. I jiggled cables.
I took the arduino Uno and cable to my usual software development laptop (I love my day job) and plugged it in. MacOS X came up with a dialog informing me that a USB device was drawing too much power and that USB devices were shutdown until I knocked that off. I unplugged the board and inspected it, looking for obvious shorts, hot components, crispy bits, etc. I plugged it in and got the dialog again, and then unplugged the board from the cable. The dialog was still on. then smoke started coming from the USB cable at the arduino end. I unplugged the cable. I hope my laptop is ok.
I'm planning on taking the whole kit back and swapping it out with another. I don't think the program was unusual. I hadn't had anything wired to the board to short. I'll post a gist to it.
I also tried hooking up a 9V battery just to see if the board was alive. It stayed dark.
So much promise for fun! Dashed! :(. Will try again with another.
Any ideas? This seems unusual. I don't see a lot of comments about actual smoke.