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.

SIM543 7″ HMI

SIM543 7″ HMI

SIM543 is not recommended for new designs — see the SIM552.

SIM543 is an Extended Lifetime Product


With a capacitive touch 7” 800×480 24-bit color LCD powered by a 240MHz Renesas Synergy™ S7G2 MCU, the SIM543 delivers an excellent HMI experience for your system. Utilizing our proprietary SHIPEngine firmware and the SHIPTide development tools, your industrial, commercial, or medical GUI can be developed and deployed quickly and easily.

Standard high speed UART, SPI, and power connectivity is provided by a 16-pin Power/Communications connector — perfect for simple wire-harness attachment to existing systems. A low profile, high-density module-to-module 60-pin expansion connector supports easy daughter card development for proprietary system integration. Or, choose one of the Serious Communications Modules to provide the communications flexibility you need, including industrial, IT, and IoT connectivity.

Explore these options compared to the SIM543:

  • SIM552for higher performance in a more cost-effective, modern product line
  • SIM562for higher performance, including video playback
  • SIM252for more performance in a more cost-effective, modern product line with a compact 4.3″ LCD
  • SIM352for more performance in a compact, high resolution 5″ form factor
  • SIM862for higher performance, including video playback, with a big, bold 10.1″ LCD



7″ 800×480 24-bit color TFT display
  • Capacitive Touch
  • Ambient Light Sensing
Renesas Synergy™ S7G2 MCU
  • 240MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 Core
  • 3MB FLASH, 640kB RAM
  • LCD Controller with 2D Drawing Engine
On Module Memory
  • 32MB DRAM
Extensive I/O
  • 60-pin Board-to-Board I/O Expansion (Power, GPIO, CAN, UART, I2C, I2S, SPI, USB Host, Device)
  • 16-pin Wire Harness Expansion (Power, UART, I2C, I2S, SPI)
  • 0 HS Device w/Optional Micro B Connector
  • 0 FS 150mA Embedded Host with A Connector
  • SHIP Programming Port
Wide Operating Range
  • -20 to 70°C operating temperature range
  • 6 to 5.5 VDC Input Power
Renesas Synergy S7G2 MCU
MCU FLASH/RAM (kB)3072/640
e.MMC Flash (GB)2
Ambient Light SensingLCD Dependent
Piezo Sounder
16-Pin Serial/Power Expansion
60-Pin SCM Expansion
USB2.0 HS Device Logic
USB2.0 FS Device Micro B Connector
USB2.0 FS Host with A Connector
RTCC w/Battery Backup


See LCD Options for definitions and codes. Additional options may be available; contact your local Serious representative for details.

Capacitive Touch Options

LCD Option



Size (inches)



Pixels (w x h)






Cover Glass



Brightness (typ NITs)



Backlight Life (typ hrs)



Viewing Technology



Color Depth (bits)



Operating Temp



Ambient Sensor





SHIPTide GUI Development IDE

  • Pixel accurate page layout
  • Built-in media support: jpg, png, bmp, tif, ttf, wav, and more
  • Windows 10 based

SHIPEngine Runtime GUI Engine

  • Licensed with every SIM
  • Runs GUIs generated by SHIPTide
  • Handles graphics, touch, communications, events, and more

Older HMI modules, including SIM115SIM225SIM231SIM243SIM535SIM543 are all supported by SHIP v5.1. For the extra features in SHIP v5.2 and onwards, choose a newer “Gen5” HMI Module, including the SIMx52 and SIMx62  families.

Learn More about the Serious Human Interface™ Platform (SHIP)




This product is not recommended for new designs and development kits are no longer broadly available.  

Contact your local Manufacturer’s Representative if you are an existing customer of this product and need an additional development kit for your team.

SHIPTide GUI Development IDE
  • Pixel accurate page layout
  • Built-in media support: jpg, png, bmp, tif, ttf, wav, and more
  • Windows tested
SHIPEngine Runtime GUI Engine
  • Licensed with every SIM
  • Runs GUIs generated by SHIPTide
  • Handles graphics, touch, communications, events, and more

Learn More


The Serious Documentation Zone has extensive SIM documentation, downloads, resources, training, and more.