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There were a number of manuals available for the Chroma. Most are available here for download and/or order. (There are also Polaris Manuals available at this site.)

Info & Soft Copies

Performance Manual

This is an often overlooked manual covering issues like the audio hookups (including an effect loop setup that shows how to rewire a single standard output jack for send and receive); the cassette interface; some basic diagnostics and specifications, and more.

Expander Performance Manual

A very rare piece of documentation, this mostly mirrors the Performance Manual but includes Expander-specific information in the Hookup section, along with Two Program Linkage Switches, sequence program footswitch behaviour, and Uses of the Expander.

Programming Manual

This reviews all of the issues surrounding programming the synthesizer, including panel parameter descriptions, hidden [Set Split] functions, the cassette interface, and more. It also came with a handy fold-out parameter chart.

Service Manual

Essential for any owner. Sections include: System Overview; Circuit Descriptions; Disassembly; Diagnostics; Calibration & Checkout; Schematics and Drawings; and a Parts List.

Service Notes and Field Change Notices

CBS/Fender released sixteen of these supplemental service notes through 1982 and 1983. They range in topic from purely informational (e.g. a seminar announcements for fall 1982; a note about a stolen Chroma) to highly technical (e.g. power supply modifications).

Interface Manual

This is mostly technical information on the 25-pin computer interface, including sections on Chroma Structure and Command Descriptions. See also David Clarke's corrections in the October 2001 ChromaTalk mailing list archives.

Chroma Notes Issue #1

Only one issue of this newsletter was produced. It has some corrections to the manuals, along with a brief article on "How to Tune the Ring Mod" and an announcement of the Polaris.

Program Printouts

There are books for sets 1, 2, & 3; and sets 4 and 5. These are printouts, I believe from Fender's Apple II software, of the program parameters of all the factory patches (see Factory Patch Descriptions; download from Patch Downloads). Useful as a lowest common denominator way of getting patches entered. The patch conversion utilities can produce similar output--see a scan from one of these books compared to David Clarke's sample text listing (both posted to ChromaTalk in November 2003).

Thanks to Mike Jaynes [21030638+] for the PDFs.

Sequencer Manual

Documentation for the Fender Music System software for the Apple II. Covers how to install the Apple II board and how to use the software. Appendix O, Hardware Description and Specifications, is available in hypertext along with high quality PDFs of the schematic and compont layout drawing.

Thanks to David Gowin [21030611] for the PDF.


Mark Glinksky's Manual Manor lists the Chroma Performance, Programming, Service, and Computer Interface manuals. He says, "I may be able to provide hard copies (only) of these documents on a limited basis for postage and copy costs, as time and other activities permit." [1999, updated March 2002]

The Fender site included the following information, circa 1999; it reappeared in 2006 but as of early 2011 it is gone again. While it didn't explicitly mention the Chroma (only Polaris), I would think that they may have manuals for the Chroma stored in a closet somewhere as well (they may even have had the two instruments confused).

Q. "Where can I get parts and service for my Rhodes piano or Chroma Polaris keyboard?"

A. While we no longer stock any parts or offer direct support for these keyboards, we can certainly help by referring you to a list of valuable contacts who offer parts and service for these instruments. We also stock service manuals for both Rhodes and Chroma Polaris keyboards. These comprehensive manuals may be ordered directly from our Product Support Department by sending a check or money order for $20.00 U.S. along with a letter detailing your request to the following address: