Don't worry about the electronics being in the path; the heater wraps the exterior of the tube's mid-section and the everything else is at the bottom behind the switch. Re a new ELB, use your Q's elbow to train it; it will be tight but IME with a little veg oil and patience it will fit, and after training should be sufficiently relaxed in the Cloud's joint. From the pic I can't really make out the crack. I've had droplets of water on top of the aluminum housing lots of times, never sizzled though. But water inside the tube will do that. The temp measurements I've taken at the OD of the joint never reached boiling 212F; actually the top of the joint measures hotter. Are you 100% certain that no water went down the inside?