When you look at some of the early GameCube controllers (T1/T2), you can see a part number on the left of the main stickbox. On top of that, a big MITSUMI logo. We know that Mitsumi was the manufacturer producing the GameCube controllers for Nintendo, so that’s all good. However, after the 2003 production hiatus, the hardware was upgraded to a new screw-on plastic stickbox. Beside it, a part number that is way different than the previous one, and the Mitsumi logo is gone.
This is where it got a bit complex, but I’ll keep it short. It wouldn’t make sense for Nintendo to break their contract with Mitsumi to go to another manufacturer, too much work to move around. I’m pretty sure Mitsumi is still doing the GameCube controllers for Nintendo, but nothing explains why they removed their logo on the main PCB (printed circuit board).
And if you look around all over the PCB, there is not a single logo to be found. Except if you look at the C-stick board, which is something I overlooked for a long time. A small tree-like logo that’s on the early T3s up to the JP Whites, and an “EPC” logo from the late JP Whites to today. (The “ЯU” logo is an UL mark.)
This little tree thing is Sanyo’s old logo, an electronics company from Japan. And EPC, a company that makes printed circuit boards almost exclusively that was founded in Hong Kong in 2007. If you go on their website, in the “Customers” section, you can see that Mitsumi is one of them, which strengthens my idea that Mitsumi is still the company producing the GameCube controller for Nintendo. Mitsumi outsourced the production of the PCBs to those companies through the T3’s production, but still make the plastic components and assembly. This is a blessing in disguise; Sanyo / EPC didn’t have access to Mitsumi’s stick mechanisms, they had to source their own. This is how we ended up with the incredibly high quality T3 stickboxes that Hori and Jesnet used for their GameCube controller clones.
However, it gets a little foggy here. The switch from Sanyo to EPC happened in the middle of the JP White’s production, and while a few components changed, the main PCB remained exactly the same. There’s a difference between the two C-stick PCBs as seen above, but the structure is practically the same, it’s just a different stamp.
This means that Sanyo and EPC are linked somehow. It’s certain that both boards were made from the same factory with the same tools. As for how, no clue. Outsourcing deal, asset forfeiture, factory purchase?
Thanks again to Exalchion for helping me with the research!
Ps. I still don’t know who made those plastic T3 stick mechanisms. That’s going to be for another time.