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.