Time for an update.
Despite endless promises and sending the merchandise back to the vendor, I have no replacement flashes. So: do not buy stuff from Meking Studio on eBay, they're liars and swindlers.
Secondly: PayPal denied my refund claim. They gave me no opportunity to present evidence that the items were received DOA but accepted an "explanation" from the seller and found in their favour. They don't tell me what that explanation is or provide any reasoning for their finding.
So, fuck you PayPal, your Buyer Protection is absolutely worthless. I am now out about $800 for shitty merchandise and a lie of a "consumer protection" scam.
Damn polygot. Thatl really sucks. I will defo stay clear of Meking Studio -sounds to me like they have been through this process before and know how to play that game. Maybe best to bite the bullet and spend out to avoid any more grief and just get on with shooting. Thanks for keeping the community informed.
Two bizarre updates:
Someone else who had been ripped off by the same vendor contacted me with this complaint site.
After I posted negative feedback and was denied by PayPal (i.e. now that I have no remaining leverage over the seller; though they did shortly thereafter write a bullshit story asking me to rescind my negative feedback), I get a message from the seller saying "we've finished repairing them and have sent them back". Believe as much of that as you like - I will of course update here if I receive working parts or replacements.
best of luck to you.
Given your initial description, I would have merely re-soldered components, but with that linked site, I think I will stay far away from them.
I checked around for some cheap Chinese flashes, and the Shanghai Seagull Company makes some studio strobes. http://www.camerachina.com/productcl.asp?categoryid=111
I'll tell you if I find anything else.
I just bought a NOS Bowens 1000DX so I'm not looking any more - unless this seller rips me off too, but they look reasonable (good feedback on sales of multiple $2000+ bits of optics). It ought to be a bit more reliable, though it destroyed my bank balance.
Discoman: I still have what looks like a working power stage from the SQ-600 (it was charging and firing OK) but no controller for it (that bit was kind of burning while powered on so got sent back). It has a commonly-available plug on it with most pins labelled on the PCB so I think I might ask the manufacturer for a service manual or something and figure out how to make my own controller for it, even if it only lets me fire at full power.