viper welcome to SMF, and ordinarily a congrats would be appropriate on your new MES purchase but your not feeling it right now.
14 ga is NOT adequate for the MES, at least for my older 40" 800 watt unit, it cause problems with unit not heating. As soon as I plugged it directly in problem gone. Also if you plugged a 14ga ext. cord to your MES and had issue, then unplugged and plugged directly into wall outlet, that may NOT solve the problem, and a proper reset is needed.
Proper RESET = 1st turn off the MES with the controller switch, if the MES is turned off by unplugging the controller could be in a lock-out mode. So if that was the case, plug back in turn on via controller switch, then wait about minute, turn it off with the controller switch.
2nd. Now unplug the elect. cord. wait 10-20 sec. plug back into the outlet, and turn on with controller switch.
I learned the hard way about ext. cords, and had to do the reset like 3 times before it started operating normally.
I have had my MES for 2.5 years and no other problems.
You bought the MES because of all the high praise it has earned, now your questioning your decision which was based on the testimony of others. I don't think the "others" were lying so that leave you with "your turn in the barrel"! You may have got a defective unit, it happens! Go get a cold beer, and chill, your a smart guy and should be the first to know this.
Time-out for personal story.... I just replaced all the large cooking appliances in our kitchen, everything was highly rated by consumer reports and multiple other rating sites, except the dishwasher. I couldn't find a model that was rated high on CR's list or consumer research or Amazon, in my $300-400 price range. Checking Sears there was a whirlpool that had 5 star rating by about 80 owners. I decided to trust the owners and get the Whirlpool. 1st Whirlpool arrives (had to wait 10 days), and I hook it up only to discover the pump motor was bad out of the box. The appliance repair guy that inspected it, said he never saw that ever with whirlpool. So Sears ships a replacement, I couldn't even install it the unit was damaged in shipping. Third unit, comes I install and it works great. How great, try 3 metal rib racks left outside unwashed with drying bbq sauce and drippings for two weeks. As a ha ha I thought I would see how well the new dishwasher cleaned them. Boy was I surprised they came out sparkling clean, my wife loves the new dishwasher, it is quiet, and does a great job. I could have bailed on Sears and the whirlpool, however I kept thinking about all those positive reviews and stuck with both Sears and that dishwasher make/model. I am happy I did.
You might have a hassle getting a replacement MES or parts but once you get it running you will be happy with your purchase. As you have already figured out, the MES is just a double-walled box and you don't have to go OEM on the parts to keep it running. However that is for much later after your warranty expires, you need to get Masterbuilt to take care of you and your new MES until your satisfied.
Hang in there you chose correctly.