I have seen similar electric boxes on other units, I do not know what it looks like inside. Hopefully the wire junctions are sealed in some manner. As for your bonus question, I believe the pipe part goes in the grove of your awning and wraps up with it. When you want to open the awning, just pull the strap.
Ron, Karen, Bekah & Koen Grose
Mount Joy Pa
2008 Pilgrim 32BH
2012 Ram CC w/Cummings, SRW and 4.10 rears