The JFF Electronics Color Graphics Interface

written by Matthew Reed

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.

Color Graphics Interface from JFF Electronics

Advertisement for the Color Graphics Interface from a 1979 issue of H&E Computronics

The Color Graphics Interface could be connected to either a color monitor or a color television set. It supported several different video modes:

  • a text display with two colors and reverse video
  • a 64 by 192 mode with eight colors
  • a 128 by 192 mode with four colors (in two sets)
  • a 256 by 192 mode with two colors

The JFF Electronics advertisements stated that the Color Graphics Interface could be programmed in Level II BASIC using the PEEK, POKE, and OUT commands and in machine language on Level I BASIC systems. They also mentioned that the manual included “schematics, circuit theory, parts list, and sample software.”

The 256 by 192 resolution of the Color Graphics Interface was the same as the later TRS‑80 Color Computer (although with fewer colors) and not too far from the 280 by 192 resolution of the Apple II. The $49.95 price was much less than the $249.00 price for the Electric Crayon from Percom (which was introduced later in 1979) or the $169.00 price for the CHROMAtrs from South Shore Computer Concepts (which was introduced in 1982). However, I don’t know of any software that was written for the Color Graphics Interface.

JFF Electronics advertised the Color Graphics Interface throughout 1979.

Categories: Graphics, Hardware

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