Getting Started with Gen 3 & 4 HMI Modules

1 Pick your Module & Get a Dev Kit

Generation 3 & 4 modules are mature products and not recommended for new projects. We recommend starting with Generation 5 HMI Modules, for example, the SIMx52 or SIMx62 families for new designs.  

If you’ve purchased a development kit for a Generation 3 or 4 HMI module, for example, the SIM115, SIM231, or SIM543, and want to get started, you’ve come to the right place.

2 Got your Dev Kit?    Power it Up!

For smaller SIMs, such as the SIM115 and SIM231, you can power the whole module from the USB connector.  

For larger SIMs, such as the SIM543, the dev kit includes a 110/220VAC to 5V power adapter, a barrel jack adapter, an example JST16 wire harness, and a handy connector wiring card. Connecting all these pieces together will power the unit.

Be sure to connect the power + and – wires correctly according to the wire card or you will damage your unit. Consult the technical reference manual if you have any doubt on the correct connection of the power supply to the unit.

Many SIMs purchased in single unit (-01) packages have a built-in demo installed. If you purchased a production multi-pack (-05 or -10), there may be a (fairly unimpressive!) manufacturing GUI installed.  Either way, once the unit is powered, the on-board firmware will execute and any installed GUI should start running and displaying info on the LCD screen.

If there’s a demo installed on the SIM, go ahead and explore it!  It was developed using the Serious Human Interface™ Platform (SHIP) rapid GUI development system, including the SHIPTide GUI Development IDE and is less than a few hundred lines of code (really!).

3 Download SHIPtide and Connect

In order to build a GUI and uploaded it to your module, you’ll first need to download the no-cost tools from Serious. SHIPTide is the IDE where you develop your GUIs for downloading into your SIM. SHIPTide also has built-in communications and firmware upgrade capabilities for managing your SIM’s configuration.

Download and Install SHIPTide

For the Gen3 and 4 HMI modules, use SHIPTide 5.1 or later, downloadable from the portal.

Note: SHIPTide is only supported on Windows 10 64-bit systems.

Download SHIPTide 5.2 and install it on your PC. This download/install not only installs the SHIPTide tool, but also Windows USB custom drivers as well as the SHIPHarborMaster application. SHIPHarborMaster is a separate background app that sits in your Windows toolbar and monitors connect/disconnect events from Serious modules (both SIMs and SCMs) as well as brokers the conversation between the USB subsystem and higher level applications such as SHIPTide.

Run SHIPTide and Connect

You can run SHIPHarborMaster directly – SHIPTide does not need to be running to connect a PC to a SIM – however the easiest way to start is by running SHIPTide which auto-launches the SHIPHarborMaster background task. With the module powered and connected via USB, the drivers will recognize the module and give a Windows 10 notification of the connected unit as shown here.
Within SHIPTide you will also see all connected devices in the “Devices:” pulldown:

Update the SIM’s Firmware

You can easily, within SHIPTide, see what firmware versions are installed on the unit and the Serious Serial Number of the unit: click on Tools>Firmware Update to bring up the Firmware Update panel.

The panel shows the installed firmware versions and the serial number of the unit. It also, if you are connected to the internet, enables you to browse active, retired, and experimental firmware bundles available from Serious. You can, directly from this panel, select, download, and install a new firmware bundle onto your SIM.

If this panel shows a newer firmware release is available for your SIM than currently installed, go ahead and update your SIM now: it will only take a moment. You’ll see the SIM reboot and firmware being installed, then an additional reboot.  SHIPTide will show the module disappear and reappear as the module reboots.  When complete, you can go back into the Firmware Update panel and see the new firmware revision(s) you installed.

Note there are three firmware objects in every SIM: two boot loaders and the SHIPEngine GUI management firmware.  You can learn more about the SHIPv5 boot system here.

3 Build & Run First GUI

We know you’re eager to get your own GUI started! Dive right in. Within SHIPTide, click the Project->New menu and choose your SIM: Now give it a project name and choose a simple starting template for your GUI: You’ll now see a very simple GUI in SHIPTide’s workspace. Go ahead! Let’s build this GUI and install it into your SIM! Click Project->Build & Export and SHIPTide will “compile” your project and and prompt you to upload it to the SIM:

4 What’s Next?

Now it’s time to dig deeper into SHIPTide and how to build that rich and modern GUI you’ve always wanted for your product.

Time for a little watching and learning:

Serious Documentation Zone

The Serious Documentation area has a wealth of information:

  • applications notes
  • example projects
  • training videos
  • reference manuals for SHIP concepts Portal

The portal contains many downloads for your SIM, including:

  • Technical Reference Manual (TRM)
  • Mechanical Design Package (MDP), including STEP file models of your SIM
  • SHIPTide updates

Don’t Get Stuck!

Product Safety

Please follow general Product Safety practices to avoid any situation which could damage your SIM or create hazardous conditions. More detailed information specific to your product will be available in the Technical Reference Manual.



SHIPEngine: the Power Behind Great HMI User Experiences

Every Serious Integrated HMI Module (SIM) comes pre-installed with several firmware components:

  • SHIPPaddle (PADD), the initial early stage bootstrapper,
  • SHIPTug (TUGB), the full bootloader with firmware update capabilities, and,
  • SHIPEngine (ENGN), the runtime engine rendering your GUI and communicating.

The boot process is described in the SHIPv5 Boot System.

SHIPEngine is the power behind the User Experience. Prebuilt and installed in every SIM, SHIPEngine includes:

  • Graphics Rendering Engine
  • Image, Audio, and Video decoding (platform dependent)
  • Font management
  • Script execution in an internal VM
  • GUI File (aka the “cargo”) loader/decoder
  • All drivers, stacks, embedded OS, and infrastructure
  • Communications protocols (Modbus and SHIPBridge)

SHIPEngine is distributed in binary-only executable format, and can be installed in a SIM using the SHIPTide GUI authoring tool or the SHIPCrane production programming software.

Serious Integrated HMI Modules (SIMs)

What’s a SIM?

SIMs are intelligent Human Machine Interface (HMI) platforms embeddable in Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEMs’) products. The modules are capable of delivering modern, responsive, and elegant user experiences. Think of them like an out-of-the-box HMI peripheral to your system.

The latest “Generation 5” SIMs, including the cost-effective SIMx52 and high-performance SIMx62 series, have numerous family members spanning 3.5″ to 10.1″ LCDs. More than just a non-intelligent LCD, these SIMs integrate the LCD with a high-performance Renesas RZ-family MPU, graphical controller, LCD interface technology, touch sensing, and all the storage and processing necessary to deliver a rich user experience.  The off-the-shelf Serious Human Interface™ Platform (SHIP) firmware engine, SHIPEngine, is preloaded to execute user interfaces developed in the SHIPTide GUI development tool.

SIMs can be used stand-alone in a system, connected either directly inside the system chassis to an OEM control subsystem or remotely (for example) over USB, UART or RS422/485.  While primarily designed to deliver the Human Machine Interface (HMI), a SIM is capable of some measure of system control through its powerful built-in scripting language and operating environment. Two protocols are native in the modules: Modbus (Master/Slave, ASCII/RTU) and the more powerful SHIPBridge protocol for bidirectional data movement and firmware management.

Choosing the Right SIM for Your Application

There are many options, including features, LCD size, LCD features, and more. 

  • Use our handy guide to drill down and find out the SIM that is right for your application.
  • Watch the videos here to help get a feel for which family might work for your product

SIMx52 Overview

Play Video

SIMx62 Overview

Play Video

So Many SIMs, So Little Time....

Use the tabs below to explore and compare the various SIM families.



SIM362 SIM352


SIM252 SIM231*


SIM152 SIM115*


SCM318 SCM208

Comms & Control

*Mature products not for new designs.

Feature SIM862 SIM562 SIM552 SIM543* SIM362 SIM352 SIM252 SIM231* SIM152 SIM115*
LCD Parameters
Size (inches) 10.1 7 7 7 5 5 4.3 4.3 3.5 3.5
Pixels (w x h) 1200×800 800×480 800×480 800×480 800×480 800×480 480×272 480×272 320×240 320×240
Touch Options C,R,N C,R,N C,R,N C C,R,N C,R,N C, R, N R,N C, R, N R,N
Operating Voltage
Vin DC Min (V) 10.8 10.8 10.8 4.5 10.8 10.8 10.8 4.5 10.8 4.5
Vin DC Max (V) 35 35 35 5.25 35 35 35 5.25 35 5.25
Family RZ/G1E RZ/G1E RZ/A1L S7G2 RZ/G1E RZ/A1L RZ/A1L RX631 RZ/A1L RX631
Core Type Cortex A7 Cortex A7 Cortex A9 Cortex M4 Cortex A7 Cortex A9 Cortex A9 RX631 Cortex A9 RX631
MHz 1000 1000 400 240 1000 400 400 96 400 96
Cores 2 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1
SPI NOR Flash (MB) 4 4 4 4 4 4 16 4 16
QSPI NAND Flash (MB) 128 128 128
e.MMC (GB) 4 4 2 4
SDCard Socket
RAM Size (MB) 128 128 32 32 128 32 32 16 32 16
RAM Speed (MHz) 1333 1333 66 120 1333 66 66 48 66 48
Host Speed (Mbps) 480 480 480 12 480 480 480 12 480 12
Device Speed (Mbps) 480 480 480 480 480 480 480 12 480 12
RS485 Transciever
Battery Backed RTCC
Ambient Light Sensor See LCD See LCD See LCD See LCD See LCD See LCD See LCD
Audio Output I2S
Line Out
3W Amp
Line Out
3W Amp
Line Out
3W Amp
Line Out
3W Amp
Line Out
3W Amp
Line Out
3W Amp
Line Out
3W Amp