pandas python unicode utf-8

pandas to_csv: ascii can’t encode character

I’m trying to read and write a dataframe to a pipe-delimited file. Some of the characters are non-Roman letters (`, ç, ñ, etc.). But it breaks when I try to write out the accents as ASCII.

df = pd.read_csv('filename.txt',sep='|', encoding='utf-8')
<do stuff>
newdf.to_csv('output.txt', sep='|', index=False, encoding='ascii')
File "<ipython-input-63-ae528ab37b8f>", line 21, in <module>
newdf.to_csv(filename,sep='|',index=False, encoding='ascii')
File "C:\Users\aliceell\AppData\Local\Continuum\Anaconda3\lib\site-packages\pandas\core\", line 1344, in to_csv
File "C:\Users\aliceell\AppData\Local\Continuum\Anaconda3\lib\site-packages\pandas\formats\", line 1551, in save
File "C:\Users\aliceell\AppData\Local\Continuum\Anaconda3\lib\site-packages\pandas\formats\", line 1652, in _save
self._save_chunk(start_i, end_i)
File "C:\Users\aliceell\AppData\Local\Continuum\Anaconda3\lib\site-packages\pandas\formats\", line 1678, in _save_chunk
lib.write_csv_rows(, ix, self.nlevels, self.cols, self.writer)
File "pandas\lib.pyx", line 1075, in pandas.lib.write_csv_rows (pandas\lib.c:19767)
UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character '\xb4' in position 7: ordinal not in range(128)

If I change to_csv to have utf-8 encoding, then I can’t read the file in properly:

pd.read_csv('output.txt', sep='|')
> UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0xb4 in position 2: invalid start byte

My goal is to have a pipe-delimited file that retains the accents and special characters.

Also, is there an easy way to figure out which line read_csv is breaking on? Right now I don’t know how to get it to show me the bad character(s).