Just a quick note to update this thread. I got a reply from the camera repairman who said he had "never come across a condenser that had died". He also said that until he could actualy look at the camera there was no way for him to tell exactly what might be wrong. As I have two other Nikon bodies I think I will spend the $25 Canadian for him to have a look at it and give me a quote on the cost of repairs. This will have to wait until I next head to Victoria ( the city near me with a repair shop).
Unless anyone else has any ideas about what might be wrong with the F 601 I think I will continue to look for used Speedlights and call this done for now.
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions.
FWIW There are dead caps. but to be fair, the trigger coil or even the flash tube could croak. Cold solder joint, several different things and they can't be diagnosed from outside the camera
I agree with you, there are many different possibilities that can't be checked (by me anyway) without taking the camera in. I just wanted to make sure that I haden't missed anything foolish like not popping up the flash head.