The IBM PS/2 8595, 9595, and Server 500 computers have many similar components. One of them, the 8 digit panel display, is used to display CP error codes and error messages while the computer is booting. After that the display is blank, unless you have a Type-4 complex at which time the processor speed is displayed. If you have an upgraded Y-complex, you still end up with the original speed displayed - 90 Mhz.

So, basically, after the computer has booted with no problems, the display becomes a static display.

This project is not new. OS/2 and linux drivers have existed for quite some time. Windows NT has even had a driver for two years, introduced in 2002, but it lacked some features I wanted for a server. Some of these features include:

  • Scrolling text
  • Time display
  • CPU Utilization

Oh, I forgot to mention something. I want these features to work even if no one is logged into the computer.

As a Windows NT driver did not exist that satisfied these requirements, I set about writing my own driver. I appreciate the information that Louis has on his site documenting the panel registers, and I thank David Beem for helping me with the planar ID code, even though he tells me it came from the newsgroup originally. So, yes, the driver does verify that it is running on a compatible computer. I do not know why someone would try to run it on a Model 90 or other PS/2, but if you do, nothing will go wrong.

This driver is now in beta stage, and supports static text, scrolling text, and time display. The CPU utilization code still has some bugs in place, so it has been disabled.

Update!A member of CSIPH has informed me of two bugs in the panel driver: one in static text and the other in scrolling text. I have fixed these bugs and the link below will download the latest driver. CPU utilization is still disabled, but I am working hard to get it there.

The driver can be downloaded here. The zip archive contains the driver, the app to control the driver, a registry file, and the regini.exe program to install the regisrty entries.

Disclaimer: If after installing the driver your computer explodes, fails to start, or does anything considered bad, I am not responsible. I have tested the driver and applications in both checked and free mode, and they work fine on my systems, but you may have a flaky system. You have been warned.

Last updated on 07/25/2004