Laser Transceiver (laser Data Link)





Introduction: Laser Transceiver (laser Data Link)

How to connect two computers (networks or any other electronic devices) with a laser data link.

Most used to connect lan networks between buildings this is a cheap and secure way to send information without broadcasting as RF or wifi links.

This project was developed in my course of robotics for high school junior level, is very cheap and easy to build.

What we get?... communicate two computers over 1100 feets (345meters).

See step 1 below.

Step 1: What We Need?

The laser transceiver consists of two identical devices.


Both endpoints have the following electronic items:

- Microcontroller ATmega168 to 20MIPS.
- Visible light laser 650nm 5mW of power.
- Trigger for the laser based on a MOSFET IRF9630
- Receiver based in three photodiodes of visible light SFH203.
- 50mm Reflector to open the receiving surface.
- USB to Serial Converter at TTL levels.
- Power via USB or battery of 4.5-5V.

Optionally if you need a long distance you must build an accurate pointer system as this based in screws.


- Atmega168 + self-made board = 10 euros
- USB-Serial converter = 4 euros
- Mosfet = 1 euro
- Laser = 3 euros
- Photodiodes = 1 euro
- Torch (only use the reflector) = 2 euros
- hardware & cables = 5 euros.

About 25 euros each transceiver.

Step 2: Electronics

You can use Arduino, Pinguino or any other development board, as we are learning we decide to build our own.

attached the schematic, board design and some pictures about construction.

What you can get?

Our system with cheap lasers, mosfet and photodiodes work at old modems speed.

We use Atmega168 at 20MIPS so working with high quality lasers you can get near 10Mbits/s, using faster microcontrollers, lasers and receptors... no limit. Seeking internet you can get information about military investigations, NASA and ESA too are working with Gigabits.

The final speed depends on your resources.

Step 3: Software


The microcontroller firmware has been developed in C language using the manufacturer IDE (AVR Studio) and compiled with GCC compiler. The communications protocol between transceivers has been custom made, but is currently based on ASCII standard system. We decided to do it this way so we could do further research about encryption and data compression. The latest change has been to implement a system checksum to verify data integrity

We develop the communications software between the computer and transceiver for Linux (Python + GTK) and Windows (Visual Studio).

¿too much work?... don't worry.

If you use Arduino, Pinguino or any other board you can make it easy simply connecting the laser and the receptor to any TxRx pins (hard or soft configured).
The PC software can be any communication software like hyperterminal or the same Arduino IDE utility.

Step 4: Videos

Two videos.

The system working.

Laboratory testing the protocol




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Do I require any Files for Code writing in Windows.
Plz can you send me program requirements and Codes for Windows,
Sorry but I'm a Very new to Electronics,
Thanks for Project,

can send data?..

Is the tittle... "data link"

You can use any terminal software (as Hyperterminal of windows) with serial protocol or make your own program using com ports, you can see a video in step 4.

Videos no longer available

I wanted to communicate two Computers Via Laser beam (same as above using unguided media, no optical cable, wireless communication):
Please do share with me. Also If you able to create that type of hardware, tell me the cost and time u complete.
Hope you understand what I needed, Thanks for your time and consideration, waiting for your response.
Thank you
Muhammad Arsalan Bukhari
Call: +92-346-3242448

If you get to know about the Project (2-way) plz send to me too, Iam also confused

Correction the Wiznet W5100 ethernet

Ever thought of taking SPI out of the Atmega 168 directly to a MAC enabled ethernet chip?

Interesting project. I've stumbled on this one trying to find out some details for my own project. I'm thinking of hacking a couple of media converters. Get two second hand Ethernet to fibre optic media converters and put a laser / photo diode set up on the front end of each converter. Did you try any thing like that ? I think if it works it will make things a lot easier as you'll get 10/100 mb speed and wont need any other hardware as both computers will think they are on normal Ethernet network. I actually want mine to work under water but that's a different story...


Did you ever try the media converter hack?