Fan connection problems

Boy, do I need help!

OK, I had problems with my new (first) build not posting. After exhausting every imaginable troubleshooting mechanism I could find, I eventually just brought it to the shop for diagnostics. They said that the motherboard was fried, almost literally -- there was a burn mark near a fan connection. I had previously not even gotten the machine to power on because I had plugged the PSU in a CHA_FAN slot and then plugged the fans into that connection. I had switched all of those plugs to the PWR_FAN connection once I had realized the mistake. I had assumed that the original configuration is what had fried things out.)

So, I bit the bullet and had to go purchase a new mobo. Now, after connecting everything and flipping it on, I got no post and, to my horror, a burning smell. Sure enough, after shutting it down, I found some browned and crispy materials right next to the PWR_FAN connection. I had connected the PSU to this slot and had split my only two case fans into this same cable.

Now, after more reading, I'm realizing that the PWR_FAN slot is mainly for monitoring PSU fan speed. So, here are my questions:

1) Was the connection I set up something that could fry the mobo that quickly (under 30 seconds)?

2) Do I really need to go buy a THIRD mobo? If so, I guess I'll have to, but my excitement over learning to build my own rig for experience/savings is quickly becoming a horror movie. It's taken 3 months to get this far and the frustration/expenses are starting to pile up.

3) What is the proper way to hook everything up? (PSU into PWR_FAN; Case fan into CHA1_FAN; other case fan into CHA_FAN?) I honestly can't figure out which fans are supposed to be plugged in where and I can't believe that I'm going through mobos like napkins trying to figure it out!)

Help!! (And, as if it isn't already glaringly apparent, I'm a n00b, so be nice.)
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  1. I'd actually expect 'PWR-Fan' to be an output from the MB for powering/connecting a fan to this output connection....; not a mb input requiring a PSU connection....

    I recommend you reference your mainboard manual!
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