Lesson for all budding amateur computer builders. Do NOT, and I repeat, do NOT put fan wires where side panels go. Bad things can happen.
Case in point. Being a bit anal about neatness and “good wire management” I decided to hide the fan wires up inside the case lip. Great idea. You cannot see them at all as they travel from the rear of the case to the front where they plug into a speed control switch. Very proud of myself. Bonus, did not even need a tie wrap to keep them up inside the channel. With the motherboard installed I could finally turn on the unit and test the case fans. They worked great. Pat myself on the back until my arms hurt.
Next. Install the side panels to keep everything safe until more components are purchased. One more test just for the fun of watching the fans turn and …. nothing. A couple of on and off cycles (as if that would change anything), nothing, no turning fans, what the F***.
Removed the left case panel and everything looked good. Removed the right case panel and everything looked good until I pulled the fan wire into view. The word melted comes to mind. Seems there is not enough casing material around the fan wires to keep them from being cut when jammed between a heavy side panel and the case.
Having determined that I did nothing untoward and my actions were to be expected and logical, I must put the blame on both manufactures for not anticipating the steps I took during the installation.
First, the Fan Company is not using heavy enough casement material around the wires to prevent them being cut by the side panel. Secondly, the Case Maker should know people will run fan wires up inside the side panel channel and provide room for that possibility.
Maybe they should hire me as a tester and get some real-world feedback and thus prevent these types of issues in the future.
So, the moral of the story is watch where you put the fan wires or you may be buying new fans.