Upload & Sell: Off
Thanks for the reply.
The story about the one that went into the river had a picture that helped me realize just how simple these things are. So I'm guessing it's not something it would be particularly hard for anyone to "knock off".
I was also inspired to open mine up to see if I could spot any obvious problems. I didn't... but I remembered the issue was really with the cable. So I slit that open, and found a metal band around the cable near where the plastic plug is that keeps the cable from being pulled out. Removed that, figuring it had crimped the wires... nope.
What the heck, I figured.. and kept slicing the insulation. And I found that the copper "braiding" they used for one of the connections was completely frayed apart about 3 inches from the device. So much for "quality"... soldered that, and the unit works fine now.
I'll pick up a cheapie as insurance.