How to change the remote control battery – VR-VZ Holden Commodore (1993-2006)

The remote control for my VY Commodore recently started losing a lot of range.  I’ve had this before with a VS and knew the batteries could be changed, so decided to show you how it’s done.

Tools Required

  • Car key
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Some kind of desoldering tool – either solder wick or a solder sucker are easiest to come by
  • A new battery – you’re after a horizontally-mounted CR2032 with solder tags. I bought mine from Retro Sales for $1.80
  • A selection of flat blade screwdrivers – a couple of jewellers ones and a couple of medium sized ones
  • Philips #1 driver
  • Wire cutters
  • Super glue

Method

  1. Unscrew the two Philips screws holding the key blade in place
  2. Use a thin screwdriver to start to prise apart the two halves of the key fob. Take care that you don’t damage the fob too much, and that the screwdriver doesn’t slip and either cut your hand or slip inside and damage the electronics.
  3. Once you’ve got it slightly apart, get another person to slide a thin screwdriver into the gap between the two halves to hold it open. You can then start working a larger screwdriver into that gap to open it further.
  4. Slide a larger screwdriver into the gap when you can, and then slowly slide this around the fob until the two halves are separated.
  5. Unclip the pin attached to the front of the key fob.
  6. Slide the rubber gasket off the end of the electrical contact and remove the circuit board.
  7. Desolder the two battery contacts and remove the battery.
  8. Install the new battery, noting the polarity. The negative terminal is at the edge of the board.
  9. Push the rubber gasket back into place.
  10. Run a thin line of super glue on the key fob just inside the gasket and press together firmly. If necessary, clamp the key fob together and apply further super glue from the outside.
  11. Test!

 

4 thoughts on “How to change the remote control battery – VR-VZ Holden Commodore (1993-2006)

  1. Hi Greg
    Very informative ,thanks for the time you put into this.
    Where do I get the CR2032 battery from as per your video clip.
    Can get the battery without the arms but need the same battery as you displayed.
    Thanks

    Brett

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the excellent video demo. For my VY Commodore, the key was working okay, but one button was missing. I purchased a replacement key shell on eBay and swapped the original circuit board over to the replacement shell. After reassembling, I found the key wouldn’t work. I was very careful in handling the circuit board as I am used to working on small electronics with my model trains. A check of the battery indicated 3.1 volts which surprised me as the car is 18 years old and the battery has never been replaced. Any idea as to what the problem(s) might be? Can it be repaired and if not, how do I go about getting a replacement key? Thanks for any advice you can give me. John.

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for the comment. So you’re saying the electronics side of things was all working fine – you then pulled the complete electronics board out battery and all without modification, popped it into a new plastic case, and then the electronics stopped working? Assuming I’ve understood correctly, no ideas seem particularly likely as obviously the plastic case has nothing to do with the function of the key. But here are a few ideas out of the realm of unlikely ones:

      • It is possible that in the course of removing and reinstalling the board that a previously marginal solder joint finally broke. It would be worth resoldering the solder joints around the pin holder next to the key connection, and where the battery terminals join the board. You might be able to spot a ring of dull solder on an otherwise bright joint if you’ve got a dry joint. Or if you wobble the key or pin holder you might see the other side moving through the solder joint if it’s broken right through.
      • Is it just the remote function which doesn’t work? Will the key still start the vehicle? If the key doesn’t start the vehicle anymore, double-check the pin above the key is correctly seated.
      • You could try installing a new battery – 3.1V is OK but a new one is about 3.3V. However it should be enough to drive it, especially at close range.
      • If you have a small power supply you could set to 3.3V DC you could try wiring that up in parallel with the battery, triple-check it’s 3.3V +/-0.05V DC, not AC, and DC, then power it on for three seconds then try the key and see if that works. Obviously pay close attention to polarity and don’t leave it on for long as it’s not a rechargeable battery and technically you should desolder the original battery first. I would actually get the power supply running first at the right voltage disconnected from the key, then make the electrical connections and then test it. But don’t leave it on for long.
      • It is possible the board may have been damaged despite your care, although I have probably been rougher with mine than it sounds as though you were with yours (and changed batteries twice since I’ve had the car). So if all else fails you might have to go back to Holden to get a new key. I think they’re about $130 from what I’ve heard but I’ve not priced it up myself to know for sure.

      Good luck, and let me know how you get on!

      Regards,
      Greg

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