Dulas Solar VC 65-2
Data from CCE failure analysis pilot in Uganda
The Dulas VC-65 device was included in the equipment sampling evaluated by PATH in our recent analysis of refrigerator failures that occurred within 8 years of procurement in Uganda. In total, 11 Dulas VC-65 devices assessed. The causes of device failure included refrigerant leak (5), control unit failure (2), thermostat failure (2) and stolen solar panels (2). A previously-recognized failure of hinges was also noted. (Dulas previously identified a failure of hinges on its VC-65 device and subsequently improved the hinge design—sending out replacements in Uganda and elsewhere.)
Due to our use of purposeful sampling to locate a subset of failed cold chain equipment in Uganda, conclusions about predicted failures cannot be drawn from our study report. However, our analysis and its findings have been shared with Dulas. The manufacturer reacted positively to the feedback, and is now exploring options for obtaining at least one of the devices with a refrigerant leak for more detailed analysis. All 11 of the devices evaluated were part of a procurement of about 290 devices that were shipped to Uganda in late 2010.
The full report can be accessed here. http://www.path.org/publications/detail.php?i=2586
Observations of the 2012 model
Given that I was told that SDD would not have performed well due to the heavy cloudy and rainy seasons by a certain manufacturer, I have opted for the VC 65-2 from Dulas. The packaging of this equipment was excellent as all 7 of them arrived safely to Benin.
My contacts at the ground, who are mainly health agents, technicians, Health zone coordinator and AMP staff, are very much satisfied with the performance of the VC 65-2. The performance is monitored via the 30DTR and thus far none of the installed equipment has demonstrated temperature excursions beyond the +2 and +8°C.
However, we found the installation on poles very difficult with little information from the manufacturer. The manufacturer should try to provide better guidelines on how to undertake such installations on poles. Furthermore, the cable length should also be increased as 10m, as we have found out, was relatively short especially for poles installations.