So right now I have a small solar panel (4" by 4") and a red laser. I'm trying to design a laser tag system that doesn't follow the way that traditional laser tag is done. I want to be able to shoot a modulated laser signal from a long distance and have my solar panel hooked up to a micro controller and read the output from my solar panel. (I know a solar panel isn't the best option for a sensor, and I will eventually use something more practical like a photo diode, but the basic principles remain the same). When I am reading the signals on my solar panel, there is so much sunlight that it masks the laser signal that I am sending. So its hard to program the micro controller to read the signal when I don't know what the signal even is.
I have thought about implementing a band pass filter, so that only frequencies of the color light I am using get through the circuit, and then putting another modulation on top of my laser to distinguish it from the sunlight signals that also made it through the filter. It sounds like it would work in theory, and I haven't done enough test to confirm it, but I have a feeling this might not work due to my next point.
If the solar panel becomes saturated in direct sunlight, then my signals my not even be producing a recordable output on my solar panel. If that is the case, what would I need to do? I would physically need to block the sunlight in this case right? Like put some barrier over the panel that maybe on lets in a narrow band of light that is specific to my laser? It would just be easier to do this whole thing if there was just a way to completely block all sunlight. Then I would definitely know the output on my solar panel was my laser. Is this at all possible? My gut tells me no because that would be too easy. I guess I'm just looking to see if I am on the right track with this thing and would love any suggestion you guys have to offer.