Posts in the “Graphics” Category

The JFF Electronics Color Graphics Interface

The Color Graphics Interface from JFF Electronics was one of the first color add-ons for the TRS‑80 Model I. It cost $49.95 when it was introduced in early 1979 by JFF Electronics Ltd of Saskatoon, Canada. The Color Graphics Interface didn’t require a Radio Shack Expansion Interface but plugged directly into the Model I 40-pin expansion bus. It didn’t include an enclosure but was a bare circuit board. However, it did include a regulated power supply on the board.

E/RAM

The E/RAM was a high-resolution add-on for the TRS‑80 Model I. Introduced in 1980 for a price of $349.95, the E/RAM was designed and manufactured by Keyline Computer Products from Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was sold by Vern Street Products, also in Tulsa.

The E/RAM (an acronym for Extended Random Access Memory) contained 6K of video memory. It increased the TRS‑80 graphics resolution to 256 by 192, with the high-resolution graphics overlaying the text screen.

High-resolution graphics for the TRS‑80

Unlike many competing computers, the TRS‑80 Model I lacked any form of built-in high-resolution graphics. Although some TRS‑80 compatible computers, such as the LNW80, offered high-resolution as a feature, the only graphics possible with the Model I were relatively low-resolution 128 by 48 block graphics. The many games written for the Model I made good use of these block graphics, and Radio Shack never made high-resolution a standard feature of the Model I, III, or 4.

The SubLOGIC 50/T80

The SubLOGIC 50/T80 was a high-resolution add-on for the TRS‑80 Model I. It was created by SubLOGIC, a company better known to TRS‑80 users for their T80-FS1 Flight Simulator.

Here is the text of the 1980 product introduction:

The SubLOGIC 50/T80 system is a high performance professional graphics display system designed to be used directly with the TRS‑80.

The Model 4 Grafyx Solution

The Model 4 Grafyx Solution was the most popular high-resolution add-on for the TRS‑80 Model 4, and probably the most popular Model 4 add-on in general. It was introduced in 1984 for a price of $199.95 by Micro-Labs, creators of the earlier Model III Grafyx Solution. The Model 4 Grafyx Solution provided true high-resolution access to every pixel on the 640 by 240 Model 4 display, yet was easily user-installable in only a few minutes.

The Radio Shack Model 4 High-Resolution Board

Radio Shack introduced their high-resolution add-on for the Model 4 (catalog number 26-1126) on October 15, 1983. Just like their Model III high-resolution board, it was never identified by name in any Radio Shack catalog. The official name seems to have been “TRS‑80 Model 4 Computer Graphics” but it was usually referred to as the “Radio Shack Model 4 high-resolution board.”

At $249.95, the Model 4 high-resolution board was $80 cheaper than the Model III version.

The Model III Grafyx Solution

The Model III Grafyx Solution was a high-resolution graphics add-on for the TRS‑80 Model III. Created by Ted Carter, president of Micro-Labs, the Grafyx Solution was introduced in early 1982 for a price of $299.95. There never was a Model I version of the Grafyx Solution.

The Model III Grafyx Solution used a different approach than 80-GRAFIX, an earlier Micro-Labs product for the Model I and III.

The Radio Shack Model III High-Resolution Board

Radio Shack introduced their high-resolution add-on for the Model III (catalog number 26-1125) on December 30, 1982 for a price of $369.95. It was never identified by name in any Radio Shack catalog but the official name seems to have been “TRS‑80 Computer Graphics Package.” Few ever used that name and it was commonly referred to as the “Radio Shack high-resolution board.”

The Model III high-resolution board offered a resolution of 640 by 240.

CHROMA BASIC

The CHROMAtrs was a TRS‑80 Model I and III add-on that could display color text and graphics on a separate monitor or television. The CHROMAtrs had advanced graphics and sound features, but using those features required low-level programming that was beyond the abilities of many people. That all changed with the introduction of CHROMA BASIC.

CHROMA BASIC was written by Robert French, who was 14 years old at the time.

The Color-Graf

The Color-Graf was a color graphics interface for the TRS‑80 Model I and Model III. Sold by Solectronics, the Color-Graf originally cost $260 for the Model I version. That price was later reduced to $195 for the Model I version and $235 for the new Model III version. Solectronics advertised the Color-Graf from 1982 to 1983.