OS X El Capitan

TIME MACHINE stopped backing up as HD became full

I have a mac mini running El Capitan w/a 6TB ext HD for Time Machine.

It keeps acting like its preparing a backup, but it hasn't actually done a backup since late Feb 2020

The HD had about 1/2 TB of open space and a full bkup would take 2.6 TB.

But Time Machine is supposed erase old backups as it stores new ones.

I dont see anywhere in prefs to make any decisions in this direction, so I am confused why its not backing up.

Appreciate any help / suggestions.

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