The Mikrokolor Color Graphics Interface

written by Matthew Reed

Mikrokolor advertisement

Mikrokolor advertisement from December 1983 issue of 80-U.S. Journal

The Mikrokolor was a color graphics interface for the TRS-80 Model 100 that was sold by Andreasen’s Electronics Research & Development, Inc. The Mikrokolor hardware was designed by Paul Andreasen, the digital interface and graphics routines created by James Cole, and the software written by Andrew Baird. Andreasen’s Electronics Research & Development also sold versions of the Mikrokolor for the Model I, Model III, Model 4, and Model 12 and also the S-100 bus and the Apple II. There was also a $54.00 VHF modulator for the Mikrokolor that operated on channels 7 to 10.

The Mikrokolor fit into much the same category as the later Disk/Video Interface sold by Radio Shack, allowing a Model 100 to be used with a separate monitor. Unlike the Disk/Video Interface, which was black and white only, the Mikrokolor displayed in color.

One of the first public appearances of the Mikrokolor was in a two part series of articles titled “The 80 Goes Color” that ran in the May and June 1983 issues of 80 Micro. That series, which was the cover story for the May 1983 issue, was credited to James Cole. It described how a user could build the Mikrokolor out of $150.00 of parts and attach it to a Model I or III. The articles also gave instructions for programming the Mikrokolor to create color graphics, in both BASIC and assembly language.

Like the CHROMAtrs and the Micromint E-Z Color, the Mikrokolor used the Texas Instruments TMS9918A graphics controller. The TMS9918A provided a screen resolution of 256 by 192 and the ability to display sixteen colors (including transparent) on a color television or color monitor or sixteen shades of gray on a black and white television. It supported four video modes and up to 32 prioritized sprites. The text screen was 40 by 24 with all 256 characters user-definable.

The Mikrokolor was originally available for an introductory price of $235.00 for an assembled unit or $195.00 for a kit. After December 25, 1983, the price increased to $335.00 for an assembled unit and $295.00 for a kit. Andreasen’s Electronics Research & Development continued to advertise the Mikrokolor in Portable 100 Magazine well into 1984.

Categories: Graphics, Hardware