Please note – this method worked perfectly on our 1990 Virage Coupe, but any work you undertake on your own vehicle is at your own risk. In particular, make sure you take great care when handling and soldering the VIC PCB, ensure all polarities are correct, and only use a single CR2032 battery.
First assemble the parts. These are :
- Cell Button Battery Holder for LED PK with ON/OFF Switch 2x 3V 6V CR2032
- 24-Pin DIP / DIL PCB IC Socket
- 3V CR2032 battery
Now remove the VIC. First take out the transmission tunnel trim panels (both sides) to provide access behind the VIC. Then disconnect the wiring to the VIC. You have to reach up into the very narrow gap behind the VIC to remove two plug-in connectors – see the photos below of the removed VIC with the connectors in place. The black power connector is on the driver’s side, and is released by squeezing the sides to release the tabs.
The blue connector is on the passenger side, and has a more complex release system. In the centre of the connector, there is a black locking tab.
You need to lift this tab up to release the connector as shown below.
Once the two connectors are released, unscrew the two wing nuts on either side that hold the VIC via the flanges on either side to the dashboard. See below.
Once the nuts are off, pull the VIC back off the studs, and carefully drop it down and remove from the driver’s side.
Now the VIC is out (and in your workshop), remove the cover to the circuit boards. There are 7 nuts that hold this in place – see below, one at each corner, two in the middle, and one to the right of the power socket. Note – the image below shows the fitted external cable for the battery – we’ll get to that in a moment.
Now remove the five nuts securing the top PCB. Disconnect the blue ribbon connector on left hand side. Carefully separate the PCB’s. There are three multi-pin connectors that connect the two boards. Pull the boards apart gently and vertically to release these.
You now have the main circuit board. You can see the Dallas DS1287 in the middle of the photo below. Note the position of the chip with the white dot in the bottom right corner. It must be reinstalled the same way round.
Now de-solder the RTC chip from the circuit board, from the other side. G. used a fine soldering iron, with a small solder suction tool to cleanly remove the molten solder. After removal the board looks like this.
Having removed the Dallas DS1287, solder in the 24-pin socket. The finished socket is shown below.
Now it’s time to modify the Dallas DS1287 you just removed. A schematic for this is shown below. In short, the method is to expose pins 16 and 20 (which connect the old Li-ion battery), and solder in new connecting cables to the battery holder.
The actual chip is shown below. Pins 16 and 20 are of course not visible as they are only used internally – so the epoxy casing has to be ground so they are exposed. The position of the pins is shown below.
G. used a Dremel tool with a small burr head to grind away the casing at pins 16 and 20 – see below. It is important to ensure the connection at pin 16 is broken to the old battery. Note the gap (white arrow). It’s probably a good idea to test continuity between these two parts to ensure the connection is broken. Then solder wires about 400mm long, negative to pin 16 (white arrow) positive to pin 20 (red arrow). This will allow the battery to be changed in the future without removing the VIC.
G. then sealed the wires in place with epoxy to prevent them coming loose in future.
G. also added a blob to seal the RTC at the top to be extra sure.
You are now ready to replace the modified Dallas DS1287 into the 24-pin socket. Once done, replace the top PCB and feed the wires out near the black connector socket. Replace the PCB securing nuts and reconnect the blue ribbon connector. The route of the wire is shown in the two images below. The first one shows the board and RTC from the side.
The photo below shows the VIC board from the top with the new wire exiting next to the power connector.
Now replace the casing back on the PCBs and replace the 7 nuts..
Before replacing the completed VIC into the Virage, G. taped the junction between the cover (above) and the front panel of the VIC to prevent dust ingress into the unit. If you look closely, you can see the tape at the edges of the VIC in the image below.
Now solder the CR2032 battery holder to the new wire from the Dallas DS1287. Make sure the polarity is correct. Then insert the battery. Note: ONLY 1 CR2032 MUST BE USED. Two will probably blow the chip.
Pull the VIC connecting wires into the nearside footwell and plug in the VIC to test. That’s it – Everything should now work! If it doesn’t, check the connections all the way back to the RTC
It’s time to reinstall the completed VIC. Just use the reverse of the process described above to remove it. You will need to remove the connectors shown above to get the VIC back into the dashboard. Once in, reconnect the blue and black plugs, and tighten up the wing nuts. G. tucked the battery holder away above the transmission tunnel trim panels so it is out of the way, but can easily be accessed if replacement of the battery is required.
Once the VIC is properly set up (see Virage manual for instructions), you may find the odo is still reading incorrectly. To ‘jump’ the odo, turn off the backup li-ion battery then break/make the VIC power connector (black plug). This will be easier to do with the VIC temporarily removed. The mileage reading jumps up or down at each re-connect. After each re-connect check the mileage, if ok then switch on the backup battery. This mileage should then be retained. For us this process got the odo to within a few thousand miles of the expected reading.
The VIC turns out to be permanently powered from the car battery as long as the master battery switch is on (even if the ignition is off). An automatic charger similar to this one (12V 6A Automatic Lightweight LCD Display Smart Fast Car Battery Charger Power) allows you to leave the master switch on at all times.
And there you go! VIC fixed, at least for us. Can’t guarantee it will work for every broken VIC, but for sure, the Dallas DS1287 RTC will be a problem on every one, so this process or one like it will certainly be needed. Good luck with yours!
Finally, I have to say a heartfelt thanks to G. for his unparalleled brilliance in finding the fault with the VIC and fixing it. For us this was the last frontier in Virage repairs, and a solution looked frankly unaffordable. To find a solution that fixed the problem, for a total outlay of only £5 is amazing and could only be done by the most special kind of Yorkshireman.