Using this laser based transmitter & receiver circuit you can communicate with your neighbours wirelessly. Instead of RF signals, light from a laser torch is used as the carrier in a circuit. A laser torch can transmit light up to a distance of about 500 metres. The phototransistor of the receiver must be accurately oriented towards the laser beam from the torch. If there is any obstruction in the path of the laser beam, no sound will be heard from the receiver.
Laser based transmitter circuit
The transmitter circuit (Fig. 1) comprises condenser microphone transistor amplifier BC548 (T1) followed by an op-amp stage built around μA741 (IC1). The gain of the op-amp can be controlled with the help of 1-mega-ohm potmeter VR1. The AF output from IC1 is coupled to the base of transistor BD139 (T2), which, in turn, modulates the laser beam.
The transmitter uses 9V power supply. However, the 3-volt laser torch (after removal of its battery) can be directly connected to the circuit—with the body of the torch connected to the emitter of BD139 and the spring-loaded lead protruding from inside the torch to circuit ground.
Laser based receiver circuit
T3 is a photo sensitive transistor which receives the laser from the LED transmitter. The transistor puts out a signal that is proportional to the light from the LED. This not only receives the signal it also demodulates it. C5 couples this audio to T4 and T5 which amplify the signal. The signal is them coupled through C8 to VR2. VR2 is a volume control for IC2. IC2 amplifies the signal more and drives the speaker, LS1.
To avoid 50Hz hum noise in the speaker, keep the photo-transistor away from AC light sources such as bulbs. The reflected sunlight, however, does not cause any problem. But the sensor should not directly face the sun.
The article was first published in January 2005 and has recently been updated.